Hardcore Impaired Drivers

Hardcore Impaired Drivers  are people who have one or more previous impaired driving offense and/or have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.15 mg/dL or more when stopped. These drivers are estimated to be 380 times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash than a driver who has not been drinking (Zador, Krawchuk, & Voas, 2000).


  • Continually drive drunk
  • Include people who consider such behavior (frequently driving drunk) to be normal
  • Are usually male, aged 25-45, often unmarried and tend to be high school educated or less
  • Contribute to 58% of all alcohol-related fatalities
  • Usually have one or more prior impaired-driving convictions
  • Generally have high BAC levels in excess of 0.15 percent
  • Often meet clinical diagnosis for alcohol dependence or abuse and are resistant to behavior change
  •  Tend to respond less to impaired-driving laws or enforcement than moderate or occasional drinkers
  • Are familiar with loopholes in DWI system allowing them to circumvent detection and conviction

Though these offenders are typically male, females are not immune to impaired driving. Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers, about one-third of males and almost 1 out of every 5 females have BAC levels at or above 0.15 percent (NHTSA, 2009).

HCDDs are likely to offend much more often than they are caught by law enforcement. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, only about one arrest is made for every 88 drunk driving trips.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2009). Traffic safety facts 2008: Alcohol- Impaired Driving. Washington, DC.

Zador, P. L., Krawchuk, S. A., & Voas, R. B. (2000). Alcohol-related relative risk of driver fatalities and driver involvement in fatal crashes in relation to driver age and gender: An update using 1996 data. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 61, 387395.