Written by Avvo Staff

Drunk Driving and DUI Statistics

Did you know....

  • Every day, 32 people in the United States die, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 45 minutes.
  • 50 to 75% of drunk drivers whose licenses are suspended continue to drive.
  • A first time drunk driving offender on average has driven drunk 87 times prior to being arrested.
  • The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.
  • In 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving related crashes. This accounts for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • 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.
  • There are over 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year. Of those trips, only 1.4 million (less than 1%) were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Over 10% were made by 18-20 year olds.


Who is most at risk?

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 2008, more than one out of every 3 were between 21 and 24 years of age (34%). The next two largest groups were ages 25 to 34 (31%) and 35 to 44 (25%).


  • Among motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes, 30% have BACs of 0.08% or greater.
  • Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are 40 or older, and motorcyclists ages 40-44 have the highest percentage of fatalities 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 (8% and 1%, respectively).


Alcohol-related traffic fatalities by age groups

  • < 16 years years old: 10.4%
  • 16-24 years of age: 25.5%
  • 25-44 years of age: 31.5%
  • 45-64 years of age: 20.5%
  • > 64 years of age: 10.2%

(source: 2004 statistics from

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