Drunk Driving FAQ


How extensive is the problem of people driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?

Thirty-two percent (32%) of all traffic fatalities in 2007 involved an alcohol-impaired driver with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.01 gram per deciliter (g/dL). The 12,998 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2007 represent a 4% reduction from the 13,401 alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2006. The U.S. is making progress toward reducing alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities.

On average one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurs every 40 minutes. Of the 12,998 people who died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2007, 8,644 (66.5%) were killed in crashes where at least one driver had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. In 2006, an estimated 1.46 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 139 licensed drivers in the United States.

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How often is alcohol a factor in traffic fatalities involving young people?

In fatal crashes in 2007, the highest percentage of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher was for drivers ages 21-24 (35%), followed by ages 25-34 (29%) and 35-44 (25%).

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How often is alcohol a factor in traffic fatalities among children?

In 2007, a total of 245 (15%) of the fatalities among children age 14 and younger occurred in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Of those 414 fatalities, more than half (130) of those killed were passengers in vehicles with drivers who had a BAC over .08%.

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Which other subgroups are most likely to be involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes?

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 (35%), followed by ages 25-34 (29%) and 35-44 (25%).

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How much do alcohol-related crashes cost?

Each year alcohol-related crashes cost the U.S. $51 billion annually in direct cost, loss of earnings and household productivity.

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