Impaired Driving

This hoilday season, do your family and mine a favor...

Don't drink and drive!


Effective measures include:

  • Actively enforcing existing 0.08% BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, and zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21 years old in all states.
  • Promptly taking away the driver's licenses of people who drive while intoxicated.
  • Using sobriety checkpoints.
  • Putting health promotion efforts into practice that influence economic, organizational, policy, and school/community action.
  • Using community-based approaches to alcohol control and DWI prevention.
  • Requiring mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment, if needed, for DWI offenders.

Other suggested measures include:

  • Reducing the illegal BAC threshold  to 0.05%.
  • Raising state and federal alcohol excise taxes.
  • Mandatory blood alcohol testing when traffic crashes result in injury.

What safety steps can individuals take?

Whenever your social plans involve alcohol, make plans so that you don’t have to drive after drinking. For example:

  • Prior to any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver when with a group.
  • Don’t let your friends drive impaired. Take their keys away.
  • If you have been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.
  • If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.

dwi-ride Young people:

At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people.    Among drivers with BAC levels of 0.08 % or higher involved in fatal crashes in 2009,  more than one out of every 3 were between 21 and 24 years of age (35%).  The next two largest groups were ages 25 to 34 (32%) and 35 to 44 (26%). 



Among motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes in 2009, 29% had BACs of 0.08% or greater.  Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are age 40 or older, and motorcyclists ages 40-44 have the highest percentage of deaths with BACs of 0.08% or greater (44%).


Drivers with prior driving while impaired (DWI) convictions:

Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were eight times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were drivers with no alcohol in their system? (8% and 1%, respectively).


Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.  The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.

How big is the problem?

  • In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • Of the 1,314 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2009, 181 (14%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • Of the 181 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2009, about half (92) were riding in the vehicle with the with the alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In 2009, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That's less than one percent of the 147 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.

In 2009, there were 10,839 fatalities in crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher – 32% of total traffic fatalities for the year.


Traffic fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased by 7.4 percent from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,839 in 2009. The alcohol-impaired-driving fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased to 0.36 in 2009 from 0.39 in 2008.


An average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2009!!!!!


Of the 10,839 people who died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2009, 7,281 (67%) were drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 2,891 (27%) motor vehicle occupants and 667 (6%) nonoccupants.


In 2009, a total of 1,314 children age 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those 1,314 fatalities, 181 (14%) occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Out of those 181 deaths, 92 (51%) were occupants of a vehicle with a driver who had a BAC level of .08 or higher, and another 27 children (15%) were pedestrians or pedalcyclists struck by drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher.

The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was four times higher at night than during the day (37% versus 9%). In 2009, 16 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-impaired, compared to 31 percent on weekends.

In fatal crashes in 2009 the highest percentage of drivers with a BAC level of .08 or higher was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (35%), followed by ages 25 to 34 (32%) and 35 to 44 (26%).


The percentages of drivers involved in fatal crashes with a BAC level of .08 or higher in 2009 were 29 percent for motorcycle riders and 23 percent for both passenger cars and light trucks. The percentage of drivers with BAC levels of .08 or higher in fatal crashes was the lowest for large trucks (2%).

In 2009, 5,851 passenger vehicle drivers killed had a BAC of .08 or higher. Out of those driver fatalities for which restraint use was known, 72 percent were unrestrained. Drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher involved in fatal crashes were eight times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving while impaired (DWI) than were drivers with no alcohol (8% and 1%, respectively).


In 2009, the percentage of drivers with BAC of .08 or above in fatal crashes was highest for motorcycle riders (29%).

Drivers with a BAC level of .08 or higher in fatal crashes were eight times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving while impaired than were drivers with no alcohol.

In 2009, 6,685 (56%) of the drivers involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking had a BAC of .15 or greater.

Many thanks Chris!

Thanks for the photo Chris!

Many thanks Chris!

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