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Impaired Driving Prevalence/Overview

Alcohol-impaired drivers are involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle deaths. An average of one alcohol-impaired-driving death occurs every 45 minutes. Each year, impaired- driving crashes cost the U.S. more than $50 billion.

In 68 percent of traffic fatalities involving an alcohol impaired driver, at least one of the drivers had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher. The remaining alcohol-related deaths are primarily passengers and non-occupants [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2015].

Most alcohol-impaired driving crashes occur during the evening hours and on weekends. In fact, the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is four times higher at night than during the day. The rate is twice as high for drivers involved in crashes on the weekends as compared to during the week (NHTSA 2015).

Drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher involved in fatal crashes are six times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving impaired than were drivers with no alcohol.


Percent of fatally injured people with BACs≥  0.08 percent by type, 1994-2015

Source: (IIHS, 2015)

All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have per se laws which make it illegal to drive with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent. However, you can still be arrested and convicted of DUI with a BAC at or below 0.08 percent. Click here to see the Impaired Driving laws in your state.