Drinking and Driving Statistics

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Drinking and driving statistics reflect how dangerous it is to drive while under the influence. Alcohol is a factor in a large number of U.S. traffic-related accidents and a major contributor in fatalities.

NHTSA Recent Drinking and Driving Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a US government agency affiliated with the Department of Transportation. Among the duties of this agency is the responsibility for tracking and compiling detailed annual traffic safety reports, otherwise known as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Included in those reports are a breakdown of various statistics on alcohol-related car crashes.

Deadliest States in 2008

The following statistics are drawn from a report by the NHTSA.

  • In 2008, the ten states that had the highest number of drinking and driving related traffic fatalities were:
    • Texas with 1,269 deaths
    • California with 1,029 deaths
    • Florida with 875 deaths
    • Pennsylvania with 496 deaths
    • North Carolina with 423 deaths
    • Georgia with 416 deaths
    • South Carolina with 403 deaths
    • Illinois with 362 deaths
    • Ohio with 356 deaths
    • New York with 341 deaths
  • The total number of alcohol-related driving fatalities across all 50 states in 2008 was 11,773.

Interesting 2007 Statistics

The NHTSA also reports that in 2007:

  • Nearly 13,000 people were killed in drunk driving accidents.
  • That number works out to about one person killed in an alcohol-related accident every 40 minutes.
  • Breaking down that number even further
    • Approximately 8,600 drunk drivers died.
    • Over 2,100 passengers of drunk drivers were killed.
    • Over 1,400 people in other cars died as a result of their encounter with a drunk driver.
    • Pedestrians killed by drunk drivers numbered just under 800.

    The effects of drunk driving also took a toll on children in 2007:

  • 245 children age 14 or younger died in drunk driving crashes.
  • Of that number, about 50 percent of the children were riding with the drunk driver.
  • Another 29 children were killed by drunk drivers as they were walking or riding their bikes.

2006 Statistics

A 2006 summary from the NHTSA provides the following statistics:

  • Drunk driving crashes led to 17,602 deaths.
  • That averages out to about one death every 30 minutes due to drunk driving.
  • About 41 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol use.
  • The age group with the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities was 21 to 24-year-old drivers.
  • Almost 1.5 million people were arrested for driving under the influence in 2006.

MADD Drunk Driving Statistics

The following statistics were gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) from various reports by the NHTSA.

  • Out of every ten Americans, approximately three of them will become involved in a drinking and driving related accident at some point in their lives. Whether they will be the drunk driver or the victim remains to be seen
  • According to the 2008 NHTSA report, there has been a 50 percent drop in drinking and driving fatalities since 1980.
  • Approximately one out of every 139 licensed drivers in the USA was arrested for driving while impaired by alcohol in 2006.

Statistical Data Sources

To learn more about the latest drinking and driving statistics, check out the following websites:

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Drinking and Driving Statistics