Drunk Driving FAQ
How extensive is the problem of people driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?
How often is alcohol a factor in traffic fatalities involving young people?
How often is alcohol a factor in traffic fatalities among children?
Which other subgroups are most likely to be involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes?
How much do alcohol-related crashes cost?
Thirty-two percent (31%) of all traffic fatalities in 2011 involved an alcohol-impaired driver with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.01 gram per deciliter (g/dL). The 9,878 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2011 represent a 2.5% reduction from the 10,136 alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2010. The U.S. is making progress toward reducing alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities.
On average one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurs every 53 minutes. Of the 9,878 people who died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2011, 6,507 (66%) were killed in crashes where at least one driver had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher and 6,753 (68%) were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher.
In fatal crashes in 2011, the highest percentage of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher was for drivers ages 21-24 (32%), followed by ages 25-34 (30%) and 35-44 (24%).
In 2011, a total of 181 (16%) of the fatalities among children age 14 and younger occurred in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Of those 181 fatalities, one half (91) of those killed were passengers in vehicles with drivers who had a BAC over .08%.
Male drivers who die in motor vehicle crashes are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be legally drunk (BAC of 0.08 g/dL or greater). The highest percentage of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher was for drivers ages 21-24 (32%), followed by ages 25-34 (30%) and 35-44 (24%).
Each year alcohol-related crashes cost the U.S. $132 billion annually in direct cost, loss of earnings and household productivity.