The Impaired Driving Problem

1997 Statistics

In 1997:

  • 16,189 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol in the United States -- an average of one every 32 minutes. These deaths constituted approximately 38.6% of the total 41,967 traffic fatalities. (NHTSA, 1998)

  • About 1,058,990 were injured in alcohol-related crashes -- an average of one person injured approximately every 30 seconds. About 30,000 people a year will suffer permanent work-related disabilities. (Miller at al, 1996b)

  • Every weekday night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., one in 13 drivers is drunk (BAC of .08 or more). Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on weekend mornings, one in seven drivers is drunk. (Miller et al., 1996c)

  • Since 1982, annual alcohol-related traffic deaths have been reduced 36%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 90,307 and 128,529 lives have been saved between 1983 and 1996 due to the decrease of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes in the United States. (NHTSA, 1997)

  • About three in every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives. (NHTSA,1997)

  • Economic costs of alcohol-related crashes are estimated to be $45 billion yearly. An additional $70.5 billion is lost in quality of life due to these crashes. (Miller et al, 1996b)

  • In 1997, there were 2 alcohol-related traffic deaths per hour, 45 per day and 315 per week. That is the equivalent of 2 jetliners crashing week after week. (NHTSA, 1997)

  • While most drivers involved in fatal crashes have no prior conviction for DWI, those who do are at a significantly greater risk of causing a drunk driving crash. (NHTSA, 1997)

  • During the period 1982 through 1997, approximately 333,586 persons lost their lives in alcohol-related traffic crashes. (NHTSA, 1998)

  • A driver with a BAC of 0.15 is more than 300 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. (NHTSA, 1997)

  • In the past decade, four times as many Americans died in drunk driving crashes as were killed in the Vietnam War. (NHTSA, 1995)

  • Drunk driving is the nation's most frequently committed violent crime. (MADD, 1996)