Since the 1980s, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other advocacy groups have promoted an increased awareness about the dangers of driving a vehicle after consuming alcohol.
In California and across the county, stronger laws regarding impaired driving have been enacted with the goal of improving safety on the road and reducing the number of crashes caused by intoxicated drivers. Unfortunately, residents in California’s Central Valley continue to face serious risks on area roads due to people who refuse to put away their keys when they drink.
Drunk driving deaths across the state
Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 30% of California’s total vehicular fatalities in 2018 occurred in crashes in which alcohol was a stated factor. This percent is just slightly above the national average of 29% for the same year and consistent with the state’s results in 2017, but up from the prior three years. In 2014, drunk drivers claimed 28% of people killed in accidents in California, dipping down to 27% in 2015 and then rising to 29% in 2016.
Drunk driving deaths in Kings County
The Central Valley appears to struggle significantly with drunk driving. In 2018, impaired drivers were involved in 43% of all automotive fatalities in Kings County, higher than the percent in any neighboring county in the valley. Alcohol was a factor in 41% of all vehicular fatalities that year in Tulare County, 33% in Kern County and 27% in Fresno County.
In the five years spanning from 2104 through 2018, a total of 530 lives were lost in collisions involving a drunk driver between Kings, Tulare, Kern and Fresno Counties.