Drinking Drivers Who Crash Kill Kids in Their Cars

This article originated in the March/April 2004 issue of Safe Ride News.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in every four deaths in crashes of children under age 15 is related to alcohol use. The data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System about crash-related child passenger deaths during the years 1997 to 2002 were analyzed.

Of the 9,622 children who died during that period, 24 percent (2,335) were in crashes in which drinking drivers were involved; 60 percent of those crashes occurring between 6 am and 9 pm. Most of those, 68 percent (1,588 children), were in the car with the drinking driver and only 32 percent were restrained. In almost 80 percent of the crashes that involved drinking drivers, at least one of the drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) equal or greater than 0.08, the legal limit in 31 states. Drinking drivers whose child passengers died had a median BAC of 0.13; most of them (68 percent) survived. Restraint use by children declined as the age of the child and the BAC of the driver increased.