A recent report indicates that South Carolina has the third-largest number of fatal car accidents related to driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), South Carolina had 5.97 fatal DUI crashes per 100,000 of the population per year. Our state trailed only Montana, with 8.57 fatal DUI crashes per 100,000, and North Dakota, with 8.43 per 100,000.
Striking as these statistics are, the nationwide statistics reiterate the serious impact of drinking on vehicle safety. The NHTSA estimates that 7,852 fatal DUI crashes occur nationwide annually. Divided by days, it means that 22 accidents happen in each 24-hour period.
The report also indicated that certain times of the day are more likely to witness fatal DUI accidents. Most of these accidents happen between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Part of that is the darkness—the majority of fatal accidents happen at night—but part of it also correlates with the closing times of bars across the country.
Another time likely to see a relatively high number of accidents, however, was 7:00 p.m. Researchers speculate that this might be because it is when restaurants and bars stop Happy Hours, and drivers who have been drinking at Happy Hours begin to drive. The other most frequent hour is around 3:00 p.m.
The statistics in this study iterate the need for drivers to stay safe, particularly as the dark parts of the day lengthen in the winter and particularly as winter holiday parties may ratchet up drinking.