DUI Resources: Article Library

Facts About Drunk and Drugged Driving

Nearly 40% of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related.

Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashApproximately 1.5 million drivers were arrested in 2002 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 130 licensed drivers in the United States.

An alcohol-related motor vehicle crash kills someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injures someone every two minutes (NHTSA 2006).

Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol.

Each year, alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion.

Drunk Driving ArrestMost drinking and driving episodes go undetected. In 2005, nearly 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (Department of Justice 2005). That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol–impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.

Groups at Risk

  • Male drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater (NHTSA 2006). It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people. In 2005, 16% of drivers ages 16 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking alcohol (NHTSA 2006).
  • Young men ages 18 to 20 (under the legal drinking age) reported driving while impaired more frequently than any other age group.

Among motorcycle drivers killed in fatal crashes, 30% have BACs of 0.08% or greater.

Motorcycle driverNearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are age 40 or older, and motorcyclists ages 40 to 44 years have the highest percentage of fatalities with BACs of 0.08% or greater.

Of the 1,946 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2005, 21% involved alcohol (NHTSA 2006).

Among drivers involved in fatal crashes, those with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher were nine times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving while impaired (DWI) than were drivers who had not consumed alcohol (NHTSA 2006).

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