Every day, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

The Problem

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
     
  • In 2006, 13,470 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
     
  • In one year, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This accounts for less than 1% of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol–impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
     
  • Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion a year.
     

Protect Yourself and Your Family and Friends

During the holiday season, and year-round, take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol. Following these tips from NHTSA can help you stay safe:

  • hand passing car keys to a alcohol drinking personPlan ahead. Always designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins.
     
  • Take the keys. Do not let a friend drive if they are impaired.
     
  • Be a helpful host. If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.

Know How Communities Can Help

Proven community and state-level methods for reducing alcohol-impaired driving include:

  • Sobriety checkpoints. Studies found that fatal crashes thought to involve alcohol dropped by about 22% following implementation of sobriety checkpoints.
     
  • Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws. Studies found that raising the MLDA to 21 reduced crashes by about 16% among people ages 18-20 years.
     
  • 0.08% BAC laws. Fatal alcohol-related crashes declined about 7% after 0.08% BAC laws were passed.
     
  • "Zero tolerance" laws for young drivers. Three studies found that zero tolerance laws resulted in declines in fatal crashes among drivers ages 18-20 years of between 9% and 24%.

Resources for More Information

Web-based Resources

CDC: Impaired Driving Fact Sheet: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/drving.htm

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2006: Alcohol-Impaired Driving

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