US Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk Driving accidents claim lives at the rate of one every 39 minutes in the United States, based on the most recent data available (13,470 deaths in 2006 in crashes caused by DUI drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent). A quick review of some additional drunk driving facts and DUI statistics for the United States (also from 2006) shows that all drivers are at risk when drunk drivers are on the road.

  • Tragically, the 13,470 fatalities in 2006 caused by DUI drivers were slightly higher than the 13,451 fatalities caused by DUI drivers in 1996. One would hope that a decade of Public Service Announcements, education in high schools and defensive driving schools, as well as work by community groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) would have lessened the fatal impact of drunk driving.
  • In 2006, one-third of all automobile fatalities were caused by DUI drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent.
  • If one looks at all automobile fatalities in which alcohol was a factor (drivers with a BAC at or above just 0.01 percent), the death toll rises to 16,005 people killed. These are called alcohol-related deaths, as opposed to DUI deaths or drunk driving deaths.
  • Of the 1,794 minors (age 14 and below) who were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 306 (or almost one in five) occurred in alcohol-related accidents. Of those 306 fatalities, the minors riding with drivers who had a BAC at or above 0.08 percent made up one-half (153) of the fatalities.
  • Several trends are observable when studying drunk driving statistics:
    • DUI drivers (those with a Blood Alcohol Content at or above 0.08 percent) were most often driving motorcycles (27 percent), then light trucks (24 percent), then passenger cars (23 percent). Of all DUI drivers, the lowest fatality rate occurred in large trucks (just one percent). The data does not reveal if drivers of larger vehicles are less likely to drive drunk, or if they are just less likely to die in the accident due to the vehicle they are operating.
    • DUI drivers are more four times more likely to be male than female.
    • Traffic deaths at night are four times likelier to be alcohol-related (i.e. caused by a driver with a BAC at or above 0.01 percent) than those during the day.
    • Of all traffic deaths in 2006 caused by drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent, the majority of those drivers were age 21 to 24 (33 percent), followed by those age 25 to 34 (29 percent), and then age 35 to 44 (25 percent).

Drunk Driving Statistics by State

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