WASHINGTON, D.C. — Drunk driving claimed the lives of 10,511 people in 2018, a 3.6% decrease after two straight years of nearly 11,000 alcohol-related traffic deaths, according to new data released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Drunk driving remains the leading killer on America’s roads, accounting for 29% of all traffic deaths. (NHTSA FARS 2018 by state)

“We are starting to see some improvements, but it is appalling that we are still losing over 10,000 lives to this violent, preventable crime,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “The overall number of traffic deaths and those caused by drunk driving have remained stubbornly higher than in 2014, the last year when drunk driving deaths dropped below 10,000. That’s unacceptable. And it’s why we are calling for Congress to pass legislation that would mandate advanced drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles. It’s past time to make this a standard safety feature and start saving lives.”

Technology is a major component of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, launched in 2006. The Campaign supports development of advanced drunk driving prevention technology, high-visibility law enforcement, such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, state laws requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, and public support for these initiatives. Drunk driving deaths have decreased by 22 percent since the Campaign launched, but the past four years underscores that more must be done.

“What we can do right now — today — is pass laws that require ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers. These in-car breathalyzers stop repeat offenses, and 34 states have these laws for all drunk driving offenders,” Witty said. “At the same time, we are challenging the auto industry to put their expertise to work to deploy a passive system in new cars that no one will know is there — unless they try to drive drunk. These are MADD’s legislative priorities. This is how we will eliminate drunk driving.”

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save nearly 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

Contact: Becky Iannotta, becky.iannotta@madd.org, 202.600.2032