Here are some staggering and sobering statistics to ponder as we enter the holiday season. An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his or her first arrest. One in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. One in three 8th graders drinks alcohol. 50-75% of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive with a suspended license.
Need more? How about a couple of numbers to bring this startling saga closer to home? Hawaii ranked #1 of any state in the percentage change in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities between 1998 and 2009, the last year from which complete state stats are available. And Hawaii had 10-times as much of an increase during those same years in under-21 alcohol-impaired driving fatality rates as the #2 state.
Simply put, too many people are driving who shouldn't be in Hawaii. The "I'm fine" mantra needs a little bit closer inspection from fellow revelers at the office party- even if it can lead to embarrassment. 48% of the total crash deaths in Hawaii in 2009 were caused by drunk driving, the highest percentage of accident fatalities related to alcohol of any state in the country. Sure, everyone deserves to have a good time, and adults should be able to handle themselves, but they don't, as even buzzed driving IS drunk driving, so make sure that you plan in advance, and help out when needed, even if not asked. We don't need these types of holiday stories, ever. Think about it.