Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk driving is the act of driving while under the influence of alcohol. When a person drinks and then operates a vehicle, the risk of car accidents, injury, and death are greatly increased. While all US states have laws against drunk driving, there are still people that choose to make the poor decision to get in a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Punishments for driving under the influence vary by state but can include license suspension, jail time, alcohol education classes, and more. If a drunk driver injures another person, the penalties can be much more severe. While there are many steps being taken to provide people with education and try to decrease instances of drunk driving, it does still happen. The following facts and statistics will provide some insight into the consequences of drunk driving.

Drunk Driving Statistics

  • On average, drunk drivers that are fatally injured in accidents, have a BAC, or blood alcohol content, of .16.
  • Compared to drivers with no alcohol in their system, those with a high blood alcohol content are 385 times more likely to be involved in a single vehicle crash.
  • Approximately a third of all drivers that are arrested and/or convicted for driving under the influence are repeat offenders.
  • Since the founding of the MADD organization in 1980, the number deaths caused by drunk driving in the United States has been cut in half.
  • More than 50% of drivers convicted of driving under the influence continue to drive even after their license has been suspended.
  • Each year, drunk driving costs the United States billions of dollars.
  • As many as approximately one in three drivers will be involved in a drunk driving related crash.
  • A person sustains an injury in a drunk driving accident on average once every 90 seconds.
  • Males are almost twice as likely to drive drunk as females.
  • In 2011 alone, drunk driving fatalities accounted for more than 30% of the total number of vehicle related fatalities.
  • In 2012, one person died every 51 minutes as the result of drunk driving crashes, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths within the year.
  • Drunk driving that involves a fatal crash is approximately 4.5 times more likely to happen during the night than during the day.
  • Of those arrested for drunk driving, many have driven drunk approximately 80 times prior to their first arrest.
  • The drunk driving rate is highest among those 21 to 25 years old.

While drunk driving statistics can be scary, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the problem. Many states have implemented zero tolerance laws for drunk drivers who are underage. Mandatory classes or substance abuse treatment is required for offenders in some states. Other measures that can be effective in reducing drunk driving include the use of sobriety checkpoints, health promotion efforts, and community based education.

Learn more about drunk driving with the following resources:

By Ted Burgess