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Drunk Driving Statistics

General drunk driving | Time of day | Children | Nature of alcohol impairment
Demographics of drunk drivers | Arrests

General Drunk Driving

If all 17 million people who admitted to driving drunk had their own state, it would be the fifth largest in the U.S. Click to Tweet

(Lacey, John et al. “2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers: Alcohol Results.” Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, December 2009.)

In the United States, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980. Click to Tweet

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012.

Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year. Click to Tweet

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2010

Drunk driving costs each adult in this country almost $500 per year. Click to Tweet

(Taylor, et al 2002) Full cite: Taylor, Dexter; Miller, Ted; and Cox, Kenya. "Impaired Driving in the United States Cost Fact Sheets." Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2002.

50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. Click to Tweet

(Peck, R.C., Wilson, R. J., and Sutton, L. 1995. “Driver license strategies for controlling the persistent DUI offender, Strategies for Dealing with the intent Drinking Driver.” Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Circular No. 437. Washington, D.C. National Research Council: 48-49 and Beck, KH, et al. “Effects of Ignition Interlock License Restrictions on Drivers with Multiple Alcohol Offenses: A Randomized Trial in Maryland.” American Journal of Public Health, 89 vol. 11 (1999): 1696-1700.)

An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest. Click to Tweet

(Centers for Disease Control. “Vital Signs: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults — United States, 2010.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. October 4, 2011.)

On average, one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. Click to Tweet

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The Traffic Stop and You: Improving Communications between Citizens and Law Enforcement.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, March 2001, DOT HS 809 212.

The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year olds (23.4 percent). Click to Tweet

(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings.” September 2011.)

Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help. Click to Tweet

(Michigan State University. “Basic Alcohol Information.” East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, 2003.)

Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. Click to Tweet

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2013.

In 2012, 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes - one every 51 minutes Click to Tweet

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2013.

Almost every 90 seconds, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. Click to Tweet

Blincoe, Lawrence, et al. “The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000.” Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2002. NHTSA FARS data, 2011.

Adults drank too much and drove about 112 million times per year - almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving a day. Click to Tweet

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 2011)

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Time of Day

Drunk driving involvement in fatal crashes in 2011 was 4.5 times higher at night than during the day (36 versus 8 percent). Click to Tweet

(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2011: Alcohol-Impaired Driving” Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012.)

In 2011, 15 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were drunk, compared to 31 percent on weekends. Click to Tweet

(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2011: Alcohol-Impaired Driving” Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012.)

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Children

In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Of those, 122 (54% percent) were riding with the drunk driver. Click to Tweet

NHTSA data query, 2013.

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Nature of alcohol impairment

Impairment is not determined by the type of drink, but rather by the amount of alcohol drunk over time. Click to Tweet

(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Q&A: Alcohol: General.” Arlington, VA: National Highway Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, March 2012.)

A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which contain the same amount of alcohol. Click to Tweet

(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in the Medical Setting." DOT HS 809 467. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July 2002.)

The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour. Click to Tweet

(Michigan State University. “Basic Alcohol Information.” East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, 2003.)

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Demographics of drunk drivers 

Males were more likely than females (15.1 vs. 7.9 percent) to drive drunk. Click to Tweet

(Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States: 2011”)

In fatal crashes in 2011, the highest percentage of drunk drivers was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (32 percent), followed by ages 25 to 34 (30 percent) and 35 to 44 (24 percent). Click to Tweet

(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2011: Alcohol-Impaired Driving” Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012.)

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Arrests

About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders. Click to Tweet

(Fell, Jim. “Repeat DWI Offenders in the United States.” Washington, DC: National Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Tech No. 85, February 1995.)

Over 1.2 million drivers were arrested in 2011 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Click to Tweet

(Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States: 2011”)

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