According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes involving driving under the influence (DUI) – also known as DWI and drunk driving – kill someone every half hour in the United States. In addition, alcohol-related crashes cause non-fatal injuries every two minutes, many of them involving traumatic brain injury.
In 2004, the last year complete statistics are available, nearly 17,000 people in the U.S. died as the result of a drunk driver. This represents nearly 40 percent of all vehicle-related deaths.
Every year vehicle crashes caused by someone driving while intoxicated in the U.S. costs more than $50 billion.
Male drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes are nearly twice as likely as their female counterparts to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. All 50 states have now set 0.8% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). For commercial drivers, a BAC of .04% can result in a DUI or DWI conviction nationwide.
Over the past 20 years, the rate of alcohol-related fatal crashes decreased by 60 percent for drivers ages 16 to 17 years and 55 percent for drivers ages 18 to 20 years.
To further decrease alcohol-related fatal crashes, it is important for citizens to become familiar with the DWI laws in their state so than they may help implement and enforce effective strategies, such as minimum legal drinking age laws and “zero tolerance” laws for drivers under 21 years of age.