December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

Impaired Driving: Get the Facts 

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.1  The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.2

Thankfully, there are effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.

How big is the problem?

  • In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.1
  • Of the 1,210 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2010, 211 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • Of the 211 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010, over half (131) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s one percent of the 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.4
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.5

Who is most at risk?

  • Young people:
    • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people.6
    • Among drivers with BAC levels of 0.08 % or higher involved in fatal crashes in 2010,  more than one out of every 3 were between 21 and 24 years of age (34%). The next two largest groups were ages 25 to 34 (30%) and 35 to 44 (25%).1
  • Motorcyclists:
    • Among motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes in 2010, 28% had BACs of 0.08% or greater. 1
    • Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are age 40 or older, and motorcyclists ages 40-44 have the highest percentage of deaths with BACs of 0.08% or greater (44%).7
  • Drivers with prior driving while impaired (DWI) convictions:
    • Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were four times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were drivers with no alcohol in their system? (8% and 2%, respectively).1

What safety steps can individuals take?

Whenever your social plans involve alcohol, make plans so that you don’t have to drive after drinking. For example:

  • Prior to any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.
  • Don’t let your friends drive impaired. Take their keys away.
  • If you have been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.
  • If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.

References

  1. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2010: Alcohol-Impaired Driving. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2012 [cited 2012 Sep 28]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811606.PDF External Web Site Icon
  2. Blincoe L, Seay A, Zaloshnja E, Miller T, Romano E, Luchter S, et al. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2000. Washington (DC): Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2002.
  3. Department of Justice (US), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Crime in the United States 2010: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2011 [cited Sept 29 2012]. Available at URL: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/summary
  4. Bergen G.  Shults RA.  Rudd RA.  (October 4, 2011).  Vital Signs:  Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults –United States, 2010.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  60:39:1351.
  5. Jones RK, Shinar D, Walsh JM. State of knowledge of drug-impaired driving. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2003. Report DOT HS 809 642.
  6. Zador PL, Krawchuk SA, Voas RB. Alcohol-related relative risk of driver fatalities and driver involvement in fatal crashes in relation to driver age and gender: an update using 1996 data. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 2000;61:387-95.
  7. Paulozzi LJ, Patel R. Changes in motorcycle crash mortality rates by blood alcohol concentration and 
 
Retrieved December 5, 2013 from cdc.gov  
 
 

Websites for more information on Impaired Driving:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Impaired

http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Impaired_Driving/index.html

Video: Emily’s Story

http://buzzeddriving.adcouncil.org/videos.asp?videoID=10