Impaired Driving: Get the Facts Transportation Safety Injury Center

Fell et al. (2014), for example, reported that a 10% increase in the DWI arrest rate corresponded to a 1% reduction in alcohol-involved accidents. The greater decline in alcohol-related traffic deaths among 16- to 20-year-olds is in part attributable to the adoption of age 21 as the legal drinking age, which occurred in all States by 1988. A review of more than 49 studies of changes in the legal drinking age revealed that in the 1980s and 1990s when many States lowered the legal drinking age, alcohol-related traffic crashes involving drivers under 21 increased 10 percent. In contrast, when States increased the legal drinking age to 21, alcohol-related crashes among people under 21 decreased an average of 16 percent (Shults et al. 2001).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 11,654 Americans were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2020; deaths like these were 30% of all total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. It is also estimated that 1.5 million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence of alcohol. Impaired driving continues to be a serious traffic safety and public health issue for the entire country. The percentage of traffic deaths that are alcohol related also varies depending on the role of the person killed in the crash (i.e., whether the person killed was the driver, passenger, or pedestrian) and by the type of vehicle involved. In 2002, 41 percent of the drivers killed in crashes were killed in alcohol-related crashes, compared with 37 percent of passenger deaths and 47 percent of pedestrian deaths.

More Jail Time Might Be in Your Future

It also provides a state by state breakdown of alcohol-impaired driving laws. With 28 people dying every day in America due to drunk driving, it’s essential that our country increases the education and awareness for drinking and driving. Wisconsin is the only state where driving while intoxicated is not a misdemeanor – or even a “crime” –for the first offense (unless a passenger in the vehicle is under 16).

If so, the parameter estimates on the risk perception covariates would be negatively biased. By contrast, the second analysis examined how an individual’s estimated probability of his or her future alcohol-impaired driving changed when we varied legal consequences. This analysis was based on within-person variation in risk perceptions and behavior. To the extent this is so, the parameter estimates would be biased toward zero.

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

This wave elicited information on socio-demographic characteristics, alcohol-related behaviors, health, cognition, impulsivity, and other types of information. The second and third waves were conducted by Computer Assisted Self-Administered Interviews (CASI). The second wave (CASI-I) elicited subjective beliefs about respondents’ future alcohol-impaired driving and current legal consequences for DWI. This wave repeated selected batteries of questions from CASI-I and also asked respondents to report their number of actual alcohol-impaired driving episodes since the CASI-I interview.

A majority of alcohol-related traffic deaths among 16- to 20-year-olds occur at below 0.15 percent BAC (i.e., referring to the highest BAC of a driver or pedestrian involved in the crash). Overall, however, a majority of traffic deaths occur at above 0.15 percent BAC (NHTSA 2003a). Car crashes are a leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of fatal crashes involve an underage drinking driver.

What Happens When You Get a DUI

In the Community Trials Program (Holder et al. in press), three experimental communities—one each in northern and southern California and one in South Carolina—were paired with comparison communities. Another approach—ignition interlocks to prevent vehicle operation when a driver’s breath alcohol exceeds a designated limit—has been found to reduce recidivism, but recidivism may rise after the device is removed. Rodgers (1994) measured the effectiveness of the 1988 license-plate impoundment law for one-third of the DUI offenders in Minnesota. During the 29 months that the courts administered the system, only 6 percent of 7,698 eligible third-time offenders had their license plates impounded. During the 21 months in which the law was managed through the Department of Public Safety, 68 percent of the 4,593 third-time DUI offenders had vehicle plates impounded. The law had little deterrent effect while the courts administered the system.

  • A trained counselor will evaluate your pattern of alcohol consumption to determine if you have an alcohol use disorder.
  • Not to sound like an after-school special, but drinking and driving don’t mix.
  • The impaired judgment caused by alcohol consumption makes drivers more susceptible to distractions while operating a vehicle.
  • The risk increases more rapidly with each drink for drivers under age 21, who have less experience in driving and who, as a group, more often take risks in traffic, such as speeding or failing to wear seatbelts.
  • Overall, 21 percent of the driving-age public reported driving a vehicle within 2 hours of consuming alcoholic beverages in the previous year, and about 10 percent of these trips were driven at a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.

Roadside observational studies have identified increased deterioration of speeding and breaking performance (Damkot et al. 1975). In 2021, 5,932 people operating a motorcycle were killed in traffic crashes. Of those motorcycle riders, 1,624 (29%) were drunk (BAC of .08 g/dL or higher). If you are convicted of a DWI or DUI offense, your insurance rates will likely increase dramatically. ValuePenguin found the national median was 86.5% or 1.86x increase in price of premiums after a DUI. Additionally, you may need to obtain an SR-22 document to verify you have purchased auto liability insurance.

If Arrested for a DUI-Type Offense, You Will Spend Time in Jail

In the DOT study, researchers interviewed 581 people who admitted to drinking and driving and asked them about the decisions that led to the choice to get behind the wheel. More than one-third of responses involved social or environmental influences. “Very few people set out to become drunk drivers,” write the authors of an older U.S. “However, they do set out to drink when they know they are going to drive, and they do set out to drive when they know they are going to drink” (4). Drunk driving can lead to lives lost, jobs lost, severe injury, legal trouble, debt, and incarceration.

The coefficients were larger (in absolute value) when respondent attributes were included than when excluded (compare results in cols. 1 versus 2, and 4 versus 5). This is likely because the hypothetical new apprehension probability posed to respondents was randomly increased from their CASI-I estimates, not independently drawn from a range of values of 0 to 1. Our study used a sample of over 1,000 potential adult drinker-drivers in eight U.S. cities spanning four geographically-dispersed states. These data were supplemented with data from interviews of defense attorneys practicing DWI law and law enforcement officers who were asked to report the probabilities of apprehension and sanctioning and sanction levels for DWI in the eight study cities. Since these attorneys were experienced in how the law was actually applied in these cities, the interviews elicited information on actual legal practices not simply data from statutes.