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Drunk / Drugged Driving (DWI/DUI)

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one in three Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.

Fact Sheets

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According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one in three Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives. 

Occurrence and Consequences

  • Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill 30 people every day: one person dies every 45 minutes (NHTSA, 2012).
  • In 2010, an estimated 10,228 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. This represents thirty-one percent of all fatal crashes.  (NHTSA, 2010).
  • In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (CDC, 2011). 
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) have been identified as factors in 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol (NHTSA, 2003).


In its publication "The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes", the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that alcohol-related crashes in 2000 were associated with more than $51 billion in total costs (Blincoe, 2002). 

Groups at Risk

Young People:

  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than it is for older people (Zador, 2000).  


  • Of the 1,210 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2010, about one out of every six (17%) involved an alcohol impaired driver (NHTSA, 2012).   
  • Drivers with prior driving while impaired (DWI) convictions:
  • Among drivers involved in fatal crashes, those with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher were eight times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were other drivers who had not consumed alcohol.    

Prevention Strategies

Effective measures to prevent injuries and deaths from impaired driving include: 

  • Aggressively enforcing existing 0.08% BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, and zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21 years old in all states (Department of Justice, 2012)
  • Promptly revoking the driver's licenses of people who drive while intoxicated (DeJong, 1998)
  • Using sobriety checkpoints (Elder, 2002)
  • Multi-faceted community-based approaches to alcohol control and DUI prevention (DeJong, 1998, and Holder, 2000)
  • Mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment for driving-under-the-influence offenders (Wells-Parker, 1995)
  • Implementing health promotion efforts that use an ecological framework to influence economic, organizational, policy, and school/community action (Howat, 2004 & Hingson, 2006)

Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC) - National Center for Injury Prevention and Control