How Many Utah Auto Accidents Are Caused by Drunk Drivers?

Every year, the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) releases a series of statistical reports on car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other types of automotive accidents in Utah.  These reports paint a clear picture of the causes of vehicular accidents in counties throughout the state.  In this article, our Utah car accident attorneys examine the role of DUI and intoxicated driving in Utah auto accidents.

Utah Intoxicated Driving Statistics: Deaths and Injuries Caused by DUI Crashes

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According to the most recent available DPS statistics, there were 54,036 car accidents in Utah in 2014, including:

  • 37,388 property damage only (PDO) accidents with no deaths or injuries.
  • 16,426 injury crashes, resulting in 23,364 injuries.
  • 222 fatal crashes, resulting in 256 deaths.

The report also identified the leading causes of accident fatalities over the period from 2005 to 2014.  After speeding (which was a factor in almost 44% of all fatalities) and failure to wear a seatbelt (which was a factor in nearly 33%), drunk driving was the number three most common factor, accounting for 320 fatal accidents during this time.  Driver intoxication was a factor in 12.4% of auto accident deaths – more than one in 10.

In 2014 alone, drunk driving was a factor in:

  • 2,130 out of 54,036 total crashes (3.9%).
  • 1,155 out of 37,388 PDO crashes (3.1%).
  • 938 out of 16,426 injury crashes (5.7%).
  • 37 out of 222 fatal crashes (16.7%).
  • 45 out of 256 deaths (17.6%) – the highest number since 2004.

The same year, drunk driving accidents in Utah claimed the lives of:

  • 22 intoxicated drivers (48.9% of the victims).
  • 8 passengers of intoxicated drivers (17.8%).
  • 4 drivers of other vehicles (8.9%).
  • 5 passengers in other vehicles (11.1%).
  • 5 pedestrians (11.1%).
  • 1 bicyclist (2.2%).

Drunk driving accidents are heavily outnumbered by accidents caused by sober drivers.  However, DUI crashes are disproportionately likely to result in death or injury.  As the DPS report noted, “A higher percentage of alcohol-related driver crashes (44%) resulted in an injury compared to all motor vehicle crashes that resulted in an injury (30.4%).  In addition, a higher percentage of alcohol-related driver crashes were fatal (1.7%) compared to all motor vehicle crashes (0.4%).”

Salt Lake, Utah, Tooele, Davis Counties Had the Most DUI Fatalities

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Salt Lake County had the highest number of fatal DUI crashes in 2014 by a wide margin.  Nearly a quarter of Utah’s fatal drunk driving accidents (70) took place in Salt Lake County, followed by:

  • Utah County – 19 (6.6%)
  • Tooele County – 17 (5.9%)
  • Davis County – 16 (5.6%)
  • Washington County – 14 (4.9%)
  • Weber County – 14 (4.9%)

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Daggett County, Sevier County, and Wayne County had no intoxicated driving accidents at all in 2014.

As we discussed in our article on days of the week with the most motorcycle crashes, accidents were more likely to occur during certain times of the week or year than others.  Fatal DUI accidents were most frequent in 2014 during the months of May (6 fatal crashes), July (5 fatal crashes), and October (5 fatal crashes).  The worst day of the week for DUI fatalities was Saturday (14 fatal crashes), when people are most likely to go out drinking and partying.  Sunday and Wednesday tied as the days of the week with the fewest drunk driving fatalities (2).

The number of accidents in any given hour of the day fluctuated between none and four.  The worst times of day for fatal DUI crashes were 6:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M.

Hit by a Drunk Driver? Call Our Tooele County Auto Accident Lawyers for Legal Help

Drunk drivers in Utah will be criminally prosecuted for DUI.  However, while the prosecutor leads the criminal case, the DUI victim may also have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against the intoxicated driver.  If you were hit by a drunk driver, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, the earnings you lost due to your injuries, and your pain and suffering.  Tooele County car crash lawyer Darwin Overson can help.  Darwin has decades of experience handling auto accident claims and lawsuits involving a range of serious injuries, including:

  • Back Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Cuts and Lacerations
  • Facial Injuries
  • Hand Injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Whiplash Injuries
  • Wrongful Death  

It’s important to start reviewing your legal options with an attorney as soon as possible after being injured in a car accident in Utah.  To talk about whether you might have a personal injury claim against the drunk driver who hit you, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143 right away for a free and confidential legal consultation.  We handle a wide range of automotive accidents, including bus accidents, truck accidents, and passenger van accidents in Utah.

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