Drunk Driving Facts

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  JANUARY 30 ,
| 4 Sources

We are going to look at some drunk driving facts and statistics on drunk driving. Everyone knows that drunk driving is a bad thing, but many people do not realize the full scope of the problem.

It’s important to understand that drunk driving is a wide-spread, far-reaching problem, and that it will likely touch all us at some point in our lives.

Here are Some Drunk Driving Facts to Consider

  • There were 16,005 fatalities in the U.S. alone from alcohol-related car crashes.
  • Someone is killed by a drunk driver every 39 minutes.
  • Someone is injured in an alcohol-related crash nearly every minute.
  • Three out of every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point during their lifetime.
  • A survey estimated that Americans took more than 159 million alcohol-impaired driving trips in the past year.
  • 1.46 million drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated.
  • A study, 3% of Americans age 18-20 (below the legal age for purchasing and drinking alcohol) admitted to driving while under the influence.
  • Eight teens die every day in alcohol-related crashes.
  • Sixty percent of all teen deaths in car accidents are alcohol related.
  • Alcohol-related crashes cost the U.S. an average of $114 billion annually.

Do these statistics on drunk driving surprise you? They surprised us. Do they scare you? They should.

What Can Be Done About the Problem?

Everyone wants these statistics on drunk driving to improve. What can be done about these drunk driving facts, though?

There are many options available for improving statistics on drunk driving, some of which are already in place. Since 1980, alcohol-related fatalities have decreased by about 40%. Clearly what is being done is working. Yet, as you can see from the drunk driving facts listed above, there is much more to be done.

Many states have laws mandating jail time even for first offenses of driving while intoxicated. They may also require alcohol education programs or treatment programs. They usually suspend the driver’s license of offenders. They may also impound the cars of offenders. Laws are also cracking down on underage drinkers.

While there are things law enforcement can do to improve statistics on drunk driving, there are things we can do as individuals, as well.

Here are some simple measures you can take to help prevent drunk driving.

  • Never drive while under the influence. Even one drink can impair your ability to drive safely. It takes about an hour for your body to eliminate the alcohol from one drink, so wait at least an hour for each drink you’ve had before you even consider getting behind the wheel.
  • If you go out to drink with friends, select a designated driver who will abstain from alcohol. Or take a turn at being the designated driver yourself.
  • If friends are too drunk to drive, take their car keys. Have you heard the saying, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk?” Instead, help your friend find a safe ride home. Or, invite them to stay with you for the night.
  • Report drunk drivers. If you are on the road and see a driver that appears drunk, call the police and report it. Signs that a driver may be intoxicated include weaving, straddling the center line, tailgating, making wide turns, driving too slowly, driving with windows down in cold weather, and forgetting to turn on headlights.
  • Keep these drunk driving facts in mind, and share them with others. Make sure to share these prevention tips, as well.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

More than drunk driving facts on our consequences of drunk driving page

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