National Driving Under the Influence Statistics
Every 33 minutes someone in this country dies in an alcohol-related crash.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2003, A total of 38,252 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes were recorded in the United States that accounted for 42,643 fatalities. 17,013 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes - an average of one almost every half-hour. This is a three percent decrease from 2002, when 17,524 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes, representing 41 percent of the 43,005 people killed in all traffic crashes.
Of these crashes, an estimated 40 percent were alcohol related, i.e., at least one driver, pedestrian or pedal cyclist had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.01 grams per deciliter (g/dl) or greater. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for about 40 percent of all fatalities in traffic crashes. About 25 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol, i.e., their BAC was 0.01 or greater (0.01+).
About 43 percent of the fatally injured drivers with alcohol were also speeding. This compares to 23 percent of the fatally injured drivers with no alcohol who were also speeding. The median age of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had alcohol is lower than that of drivers without alcohol. The median age of drivers involved in fatal crashes with alcohol is 32 as compared to 39 for drivers involved in fatal crashes without alcohol.
More than two-thirds of drivers involved in fatal crashes with one or more previous DWI convictions had alcohol. While 3 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were known to have a previous DWI conviction, close to 8 percent of the drivers who had alcohol also had a previous DWI conviction. Also, among the recidivistic drivers with alcohol, more than 90 percent were intoxicated (BAC=0.08+). About 37 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes who had any alcohol were also involved in a rollover crash as compared to 15 percent of drivers who were involved in a rollover crash and did not have any alcohol. Fatally injured passengers who were riding with a driver with alcohol were likely to be in the same age group as the driver. About 36 percent of all non-occupants who died in traffic crashes had alcohol (BAC=0.01+).
An estimated 1.5 million people were arrested. In fact, the average American has a 30 percent chance of being killed or injured by an impaired driver during their lifetime. And while the number of alcohol-related fatalities are at an all-time low, impaired driving is still a leading cause of death for people under the age of 30.
What is Impaired Driving and Who is at Risk?
The phrase "drunk driving," while still common in everyday language and completely understandable, is not used as a legal term since many drivers who are part of the problem do not exhibit visible outward signs of drunkenness. "Impaired driving" in general means driving while abilities are impaired by alcohol or drugs. "Driving while intoxicated" (DWI) or "Driving under the influence" (DUI) means driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
All drivers risk impairment when consuming alcohol or drugs--whether legal, over-the-counter and prescription medications or illegal substances such as marijuana, cocaine or other illicit drugs. Make the right choice--don't drink and drive. Yet, we know that thousands of Americans every year continue to make the wrong choices. Impaired Drivers come in all ages, genders and backgrounds.