Drunk Driving Statistics

The drunk driving statistics are simply staggering. In this article, we’ll look at some drunk driving stats as well as what can be done about the problem. We’ll talk about laws designed to deal with the problem, but we’ll also talk about what you as an individual can do about it, as well.


So here they are, the drunk driving statistics:

  • A drunk driver kills someone every 39 minutes.
  • A drunk driver injures someone every minute.
  • Eight teenagers die every day in alcohol-related car crashes.
  • One survey found that Americans took over 159 million alcohol-impaired driving trips in a single year.
  • Motorcycle drivers comprise the highest percentage of drunk drivers in fatal crashes, followed by light trucks, then passenger cars.
  • The highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes are age 18-24 (remember, it’s not even legal to drink alcohol until you’re 21).
  • More than half of all drunk drivers involved in fatal crashed have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 % or more (the legal limit is 0.08 %).
  • In the U.S., a driver is considered intoxicated if their BAC is 0.08% or higher. In most other countries, a driver is considered intoxicated if their BAC is 0.05% or even lower. In some countries, it is illegal to drive with any alcohol in your system.

Most people are unaware of these drunk driving statistics, but are appalled once they hear them. And these are only a few of the many drunk driving stats we could have shared with you.

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What is the Law Doing About These Drunk Driving Stats?

There are numerous laws in place to act as deterrents to drunk driving and to prevent repeat offenders. These vary from state to state, but may include:

  • Mandatory jail time for first time offenders.
  • Hefty fines for drunk drivers.
  • Automatic revocation of drivers license.
  • Installation of ignition interlock devices (these are devices that prevent intoxicated people from starting their car).

In addition to these laws, there is much that law enforcement officers do to lower the drunk driving stats. Having as many officers as possible on the lookout for drivers who show signs of alcohol impairment, a procedure known as saturation patrols, is of course useful. Sobriety checkpoints are often used during high-risk times such as holidays. The public is warned that law enforcement is cracking down on drunk driving at these times, which serves as a deterrent.

What Can You do About These Drunk Driving Statistics?

You may be feeling overwhelmed by the drunk driving stats and feeling that there is nothing one person can do to change things, but that’s not true. Here are some things you can do.

  • Don’t become a statistic. Don’t drive when you’ve been drinking. Even if you’ve only had a little, your driving ability may be more impaired than you think. Give yourself time to sober up. A good rule to follow is one hour for each drink you’ve had.
  • Don’t let your friends become drunk driving statistics, either. Remember the slogan, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk?” Drive your friends home, or, if you’re not sober, call a cab.
  • Use the “designated driver” system when you go out drinking with friends. Select one person who will not drink at all to be the driver that night.
  • Report drivers who appear drunk to the police. Look for cars that are driving erratically. If you have a cellular phone, you can call the police and give a description of the car and its location.

By working together, lawmakers, law enforcement officers, and private citizens like you can make a big difference in the drunk driving stats.

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

Alcoholism home page


MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving

CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NCADD - National Council on Alcoholism