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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Paulozzi LJ, Patel R. Changes in motorcycle crash mortality rates by blood alcohol concentration and
Websites for more information on Impaired Driving:
Video: Emily’s Story