48 Drunk Driving Statistics

Drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly combination. Not only does it put the driver at risk, but it also endangers everyone else on the road.

Published On

October 1, 2023

Drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly combination. Not only does it put the driver at risk, but it also endangers everyone else on the road. Here are 48 statistics that shed light on the dangers of drunk driving.

Top 10 Key Drunk Driving Statistics

  1. Every day, nearly 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes – that's one person every 50 minutes.
  2. On average, a drunk driver will drive under the influence over 80 times before their first arrest.
  3. In 2019, there were more than 10,000 deaths caused by alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
  4. Alcohol-related crashes cost the United States more than $44 billion annually.
  5. Young adults aged between 21 and 24 are responsible for the highest percentage of drunk driving accidents.
  6. Nearly half of all deadly car accidents on Independence Day involve a drunk driver.
  7. In fatal crashes involving drivers between ages 16 and 20 years old, about one-third of those drivers had been drinking alcohol.
  8. More than half of all children who died in car accidents involving alcohol were riding in the same car as the impaired driver.
  9. Over half a million people are injured each year due to drunk driving incidents.
  10. The rate of drunk driving is highest among people aged between 26 and 29 years old.

Prevalence of Drunk Driving

  • In 2019, 6.5 million adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol. (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
  • On average, 28 people die every day in the United States due to drunk driving crashes. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • 1 in 3 traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • In 2018, 29% of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • In 2019, 4.5 million people reported driving under the influence of drugs. (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Drunk Driving Deaths per Year

  • In 2019, 10,142 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • The rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities was highest for drivers aged between 21 and 24 years old. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • In 2018, Texas had the highest number of drunk driving fatalities with a total of 1,439 deaths. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • From 2009 to 2018, the rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased by 5%. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • About one-third of all traffic deaths involving an alcohol-impaired driver also involved speeding. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Drunk Driving Statistics by Age

  • Drivers aged 16-20 have the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired driving incidents in comparison to other age groups, with an estimated 15% of fatal crashes involving a driver under the influence. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Among drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for alcohol, the highest percentage was for those aged between 21 and 24 years old, with a rate of 27%. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Drivers aged between 25 and 34 had the highest overall rate of drinking and driving incidents, with an estimated 25% admitting to driving under the influence in the past year. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • The rate of drunk driving among adults aged over 65 is lower than any other age group, however, they still accounted for nearly one in ten drivers involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • In terms of motorcycle riders killed in alcohol-involved crashes, those aged between 40 and 44 had the highest rate at approximately four times higher than any other age group. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Drunk Driving Statistics by Gender

  • Men are more likely to drive drunk than women, with 4.2 million men reporting driving under the influence compared to 2.5 million women in 2019. (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
  • In 2018, male drivers involved in fatal crashes were almost twice as likely to be intoxicated than female drivers. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Male drivers aged between 21 and 24 had the highest rate of involvement in fatal alcohol-impaired crashes compared to any other age group. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Women are less likely to be involved in drunk driving incidents but when they are, they are more likely to have a passenger who is a child under the age of 14 in the car with them. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • According to a study conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, men are responsible for approximately four times as many drunk driving incidents as women on average each year.

Impact on Young Drivers

  • In 2019, 19% of drivers aged 16-20 involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and 1 in 5 of those crashes involves alcohol. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • In 2019, 5.4% of high school seniors reported driving after drinking alcohol in the past two weeks. (Source: Monitoring the Future)
  • Drivers aged 21-24 have the highest rate of drunk driving accidents. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Drunk Driving Statistics by Generation

  • Baby Boomers: In 2018, 28% of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involved drivers aged between 50 and 59 years old. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Generation X: Drivers aged between 35 and 44 had the highest rate of involvement in alcohol-impaired crashes compared to any other age group in 2018. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Millennials: According to a survey conducted by AAA, more than one in four millennials admit to driving while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the past year.
  • Generation Z: Drivers aged between 16 and 20 accounted for an estimated 10% of all alcohol-impaired fatal crashes in the United States in 2019. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Silent Generation: In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers aged over 80 had a higher rate of alcohol-related accidents per mile driven compared to any other age group.
  • Generation Y (or "echo boomers"): According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, drivers aged between 21 and 34 were responsible for nearly two-thirds of all drug-impaired driving incidents in California in 2017.
  • Generation Alpha (children born after 2010): While there are no statistics available on this age group's involvement with drunk driving, it's important for parents to lead by example and educate their children about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while under the influence when they become old enough to drive.

Drunk Driving Statistics by State

Between the years 2003 and 2011, there were 119,100 drunk driving fatalities in the United States. Here are the 16 states with the most drunk driving deaths during that eight-year period:

  • Texas had the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018 with a total of 1,439 deaths. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • North Dakota has the highest rate of DUI arrests per capita with 678 arrests per 100,000 people. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Utah had the lowest rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018 with only 54 deaths. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • California had the second-highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018 with a total of 1,069 deaths. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • South Dakota has the second-highest rate of DUI arrests per capita with 523 arrests per 100,000 people. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Florida had the third-highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018 with a total of 814 deaths. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • Wyoming has the third-highest rate of DUI arrests per capita with 522 arrests per 100,000 people. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Economic Impact

  • The cost of drunk driving crashes in the United States is estimated to be $44 billion per year. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • In 2010, alcohol-related crashes resulted in $121 billion in damages. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • On average, a DUI conviction can cost a driver up to $10,000 in legal fees, fines, and increased insurance costs. (Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving)
  • Each year, drunk driving crashes result in lost wages and productivity totaling $20 billion. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Repeat Offenders

  • On average, a drunk driver will drive drunk 80 times before their first arrest. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Nearly one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • In 2019, 38% of drivers involved in fatal crashes who were tested for drugs had marijuana in their system, and 27% had alcohol. (Source: Governors Highway Safety Association)

Prevention Efforts

  • All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. (Source: Governors Highway Safety Association)
  • Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) can reduce drunk driving recidivism rates by 67%. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • In 2018, 1.5 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have been shown to reduce drunk driving rates by up to 10%. (Source: American Journal of Epidemiology)

Conclusion

Drinking and driving is not only a serious problem, but it is also an illegal and potentially fatal one. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a leading cause of accidents and fatalities on our roads, and it affects us all.

It is important to understand the risks associated with drunk driving and take steps to prevent it. These steps include designating a sober driver, using public transportation, or calling a ride-sharing service. It's also important to know your limits and avoid drinking too much alcohol.

By taking these measures, we can work towards making our roads safer for everyone. Remember, the choices we make can have a significant impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. So, let's make responsible decisions and work together to prevent drunk driving.

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