Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered alcohol-impaired under Massachusetts law.
Drunk driving fatalities in Massachusetts have been dropping over the last several years — 345 in 2018, 346 in 2019, and 333 in 2020 — but alcohol impairment remains an issue in the state.
In the U.S. as a whole, more than 10,000 people die from drunk driving accidents each year.
Traffic safety programs, education about drunk driving, alcohol interventions, and treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) can all help to reduce these rates further.
Drinking And Driving In Massachusetts
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,243
people in Massachusetts were killed in drunk driving accidents from 2009 to 2018.
As of a 2018 report from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2.5% of Massachusetts residents reported driving after drinking too much.
On the national level, the report found that 1.7% of the U.S. population drove while under the influence of alcohol.
Drunk Driving Death Rates By Age
The CDC gathered data that compares the drunk driving fatalities in Massachusetts against the entire U.S. population.
Drunk driving rates by age in Massachusetts as compared to the U.S. per 100,000 population:
- People ages 21 to 34: 3.5 (Massachusetts) vs. 6.2 (U.S.)
- People ages 35 and up: 1.6 (Massachusetts) vs. 3.1 (U.S.)
- All ages: 1.7 (Massachusetts) vs. 3.2 (U.S.)
Drunk Driving Death Rates By Gender
The CDC also collected information on the drunk driving rates for men and women in Massachusetts and compared them against the U.S. population.
Alcohol-impaired driving rates by gender in Massachusetts:
- Men: 2.6 (Massachusetts) vs. 4.9 (U.S.)
- Women: 0.9 (Massachusetts) vs. 1.6 (U.S.)
Impact Of COVID-19 On Massachusetts Drunk Driving Statistics
Some people may assume that the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 would lead to fewer cars on the road, causing fewer drunk driving accidents.
However, the lockdown period from March to April saw more drunk driving deaths (59) than during the same time period in 2018 (50) and 2019 (52).
This may be due to a number of reasons, such as:
- increased alcohol dependence for Massachusetts residents during lockdowns
- increased speeding because of fewer cars on the road
- decreased police involvement due to a focus on health-related issues
- police stopping only the most serious offenders during the lockdowns
Drunk Driving Prevention Measures
Law enforcement and local communities can implement several strategies to educate people about the dangers of drunk driving and prevent these fatalities from occurring.
Here are a few of the prevention strategies used in Massachusetts:
- The national Click It or Ticket campaign: This runs from May 17 to June 6 and reminds drivers and passengers to buckle their seatbelts.
- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: In 2020, 125 local police departments were given funding to stop drunk driving incidents.
- Sobriety checkpoints: Local police departments were also funded in 2020 for sobriety checkpoints, which are locations officers use to check whether drivers are impaired.
- Sale to Intoxicated Persons (SIP) laws: These are overservice laws that prohibit serving alcohol to people who are intoxicated at restaurants, bars, and liquor stores.
- Media awareness: Social media, billboards, TV, and radio stations spread the message “If you feel different, you drive different” across Massachusetts to increase awareness.
It’s also important to provide:
- alcohol problem assessment and treatment programs
- alcohol screenings in health care facilities, high schools, colleges, and other settings
- interventions for alcohol-impaired driving
- school-based educational programs about drunk driving
- access to alcohol detox services in Massachusetts
The more education and access to treatment that’s provided in Massachusetts communities, the more these instances of drunk driving accidents will decrease.
There are many effective programs specifically designed to treat alcohol abuse, such as residential treatment programs for alcohol addiction.
Get Treatment For Alcohol Addiction
At Bedrock Recovery Center, we understand the range of issues associated with drunk driving and alcohol addiction.
If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, reach out to us and talk with one of our treatment specialists.
We can provide you with information on alcohol addiction screening, treatment options, and more. Call us today to get started on your journey to recovery.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Sobering Facts: Alcohol-Impaired Driving
United States Department of Transportation: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — Click It or Ticket
United States Department of Transportation: Traffic Safety Marketing — Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over