Home 30 Must-Know Drunk Driving Statistics for 2020

30 Must-Know Drunk Driving Statistics for 2020

by Tony Arevalo

Taking recent drunk driving statistics into account, it looks like the US risks becoming the leader in this field. Perhaps the high figures aren’t so abhorrent knowing that there were some 276 million vehicles on American roads during the first quarter of 2019. The US is the second largest car market in the world, and the number of vehicles on the road has been rising steadily since the 1990s. But the more vehicles there are, the more we need to seriously consider that danger that drunk driving poses and use this information to institute some real change.

Most Alarming Drunk Driving Statistics

  • Of the number of children who lost their lives in traffic accidents, 17% were caused by drunk drivers.
  • One in three people will participate in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
  • A spinal cord injury is one of the most common injuries caused by drunk driving.
  • People who have attempted suicide are more prone to drunk driving.
  • 28.7 million people admitted they had driven under the influence in 2013.
  • Statistics on drunk driving deduced that the average drunk driver had already driven under the influence around 80 times before their arrest.
  • 54% of the children who died in a DUI-induced crash were being driven by an intoxicated driver.
  • 1,837 people were killed in car crashes caused by drivers with low alcohol levels in 2017 (between 0.01% and 0.07%).
  • Alcohol-impaired drivers are behind the wheel more than 300,000 times every day. However, only around 2,800 are arrested.
  • The US is the third worst country in the world for drunk driving.

People Also Ask

Drunk Driving - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
How many deaths are caused by drunk driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent drunk driving statistics say that out of the 36,560 people who died in traffic accidents in 2018, 10,511 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Drivers who had a BAC of 0.8% or higher were responsible for those deaths.
What percentage of car accidents are caused by alcohol?
When it comes to single-car crashes with a deadly outcome, 65% of them involve a drunk driver. Drunk driving is the cause of more than 50% of the total number of fatal highway crashes.
How many children are killed by drunk drivers every year?
The exact figure is hard to tell, but approximately 1 in 5 child passenger deaths involved a drunk driver, statistics show. More often than not, the alcohol-impaired driver was driving the child. Also, if a driver is intoxicated, there’s a higher chance the child was not properly secured with a seatbelt or child seat. According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the leading global cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29.
What time of day do most drunk driving accidents occur?
According to the most recent drunk driving accident statistics regarding fatalities, the chance of getting involved in one is four times higher during the night than it is during the day. 80% of drunk driving accidents happen between 8 pm and 8 am. What’s more, the worst part of the week in this respect is the weekend. On average, 28% of the drivers in fatal weekend crashes were drunk, which is almost double the percentage of drunk drivers involved in road fatalities on weekdays (15%).

Fatalities due to Drunk Driving


1. The number of DUI deaths per year shows that 30% of the total number of traffic deaths happened because alcohol was involved.

(NHTSA) There were 10,908 traffic-related deaths due to alcohol in the year 2017; a year later, the number went down to 10,511 deaths. On a more positive note, this is the lowest number of fatalities recorded by NHTSA ever since they started reported alcohol-related data.

2. Drunk drivers are responsible for 15% of the pedestrians killed every year.

(Driving Tests) And that’s not even the end of the stats about pedestrian deaths and intoxication. 34% of the pedestrians killed every year were drunk themselves. This means the chances of a drunk driver hitting a drunk pedestrian are also alarming.

3. DUI statistics show that of the children who lost their lives in traffic accidents, 17% were caused by drunk drivers.

(CDC) Alcohol-impaired drivers caused the deaths of 214 children between 0 and 14 years old in 2016 alone.

4. Motorcyclists 35–39 years old have the highest fatality risk from driving under the influence.

(CDC) Motorcyclists who were under the influence account for 38% of motorcyclist deaths.

5. About 25% of the motorcyclists who died in traffic fatalities in 2016 had BACs of at least 0.08% or even higher.

(CDC) The drunk driving stats prove alcohol impairment influences poor decision making. Motorcyclists risk their lives when they disregard their own safety—by drinking or choosing not to wear a helmet. If all riders wore a helmet in 2016, it would have saved 802 lives.

6. A drunk driver involved in a fatality probably already has a record for driving under the influence, according to drunk driving statistics.

(NHTSA) Drivers involved in fatal accidents who also had a BAC over 0.08% were 4.5 times more likely to have already been convicted of drinking and driving.

7. More than 50% of the children who died because of a DUI-induced crash were being driven by an intoxicated driver.

(MADD) In 2017, 118 children died in vehicles operated by drivers who had a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Another 29 children were pedestrians when they were killed by a drunk driver.

8. The highest number of drunk driving deaths occurred in Texas (1,439 incidents).

(Backgroundchecks.org) The next ones in line are California (1,069) and Florida (814). In comparison, the safest state when it comes to drunk driving is Vermont, with only 15 deaths due to drunk driving.

9. Drunk driving contributed to 84% of all of Connecticut’s driving fatalities.

(Alcohol.org) A similar percentage can be seen in the country-wide gender ratio, as men are guilty of 80.4% of all drunk driving fatalities.

10. Of the total number of fatal accidents in 2016, 33% of the drivers who died were involved in an accident that included an intoxicated driver.

(iii.org) This stat is similar when applied to the number of passengers who died in a car crash in 2016. Of those passengers who died, 29% of them were in an accident that involved a drunk driver.

Statistics on Drunk Drivers

11. Statistics on DUI arrests deduced that a drunk driver would have already driven under the influence an average of 80 times before being caught.


A more direct and involved police presence is the key to reducing the number of alcohol-induced crashes and fatal accidents.

12. No substance can sober up a drunk driver.


Regardless of hydration, sleep, coffee, or anything else, ultimately the only thing that will reduce the amount of alcohol in your blood is time. It takes about an hour on average for the body to metabolize one drink.

13. Drunk driving statistics confirm that about one million people are arrested every year for drunk driving.


Unfortunately, a full one-third of them are repeat offenders.

14. Drunk drivers cost the US about $132 billion a year.


To put it more simply, other people driving drunk winds up costing every adult American around $500 per year.

15. One in three people will participate in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.

(BACtrack) (Aldous Walker)

And the problems don’t end there. Based on statistics, 9% of car crash victims develop some kind of PTSD, while 15% will develop a phobia of driving.

16. According to US drinking and driving statistics, 43% of drunk drivers were driving a standard passenger car like a sedan when they caused a road incident.


After that, the most common vehicles in fatal drunk driving road crashes were pickup trucks and SUVs respectively, while vans and large trucks make up only a small percentage.

17. Alcohol-impaired drivers are on the road more than 300,000 times every day. However, only around 2,800 of them are arrested.


Clearly drunk driving needs to be regulated significantly better. This also explains the high percentage of repeat offenders.

18. DUI stats report that 28.7 million people admitted they drove under the influence in 2013.


To give an idea, that number covers the population of the entire state of Texas. Some people mistakenly believe that the type of alcoholic drink determines how drunk they become. But really, it all comes down to just how much alcohol is consumed within a certain period of time.

19. Alcohol-impaired drivers are 11 times more likely to die in a car crash compared to sober drivers.

(New Beginnings)

Drunk driving statistics have shown an improvement in road safety since the nineties, but there’s still a long way to go. Alcohol diminishes our ability to drive safely even more than we first thought, as can be seen in this statistic.

20. People who have attempted suicide are more prone to drunk driving.

(Journal of Traumatic Stress) (NCBI)

This can turn into a vicious cycle, as drunk drivers who participated in a car crash or fatality may develop suicidal thoughts due to feelings of guilt. PTSD is among the most common psychiatric disorders in drunk drivers.

Drunk Driving Crash Statistics

21. Global drinking and driving statistics rank the US as the third worst country in the world for drunk driving.


With the US’s high population and the high number of drivers on the road, this stat shouldn’t come as a surprise.

22. If consuming alcohol makes you aggressive, you’re even more likely to have an accident while driving.

(Driving Tests)

In general, aggressive drivers are the culprits of 50% of all crashes in the US (5 million of them). If alcohol turns you more aggressive on the road, your chances of speeding and crashing are even greater while intoxicated.

23. Despite having access to several precise DUI stats, the exact number of drunk driving crashes is impossible to determine.

(Driving Tests)

Additional research indicates that around 10 million car crashes go unreported every year. Because it’s likely a drunk driver wouldn’t want to involve the authorities if they crashed, the drunk driving figures are probably even worse than they already seem.

24. Young drivers (age 21–24) cause the majority of drunk driving accidents.


They participated in 27% of the fatal drunk driving crashes in 2017, while drivers aged 25–34 are a close second with 26%.

25. Underage drunk drivers are guilty of a quarter of the car crashes among their age demographic.


Unfortunately, there’s no age limit for causing a car crash. Also, 95% of alcohol addicts started drinking before they turned 21.

26. Drugs were involved in 16% of all driving under the influence accidents.


This refers to both legal (prescription or over-the-counter) and illegal drugs. It’s a disturbing fact that a third of teenagers foolishly believe they drive better after consuming marijuana.

27. A spinal cord injury is one of the most common injuries caused by drunk driving.

(Shane Smith Law)

About 36% of spinal cord injuries are a consequence of a car crash, and many of them lead to paralysis, according to recent drunk driving accident statistics.

28. Speeding and drunk driving are the cause of almost the same number of car crashes.

(CBS News)

Drunk driving takes the lead here, however. Even though it’s thought drunk drivers are prone to speeding, they also tend to drive too slowly, which can also be dangerous depending on the situation. In the end, slow reactions and false judgments are the main reasons for a crash in either case.

29. Drinking and driving statistics show the average BAC for drunk drivers who were fatally injured in a car crash to be 0.16%.

(Los Angeles DUI Lawyer)

The symptoms for this level of alcohol impairment are beyond serious: major loss of balance, potential vomiting, less muscle control, etc.

30. In 2017, 1,837 people were killed in car crashes in which drivers had a low alcohol content (between 0.01% and 0.07%)

(NHTSA) (Streetsblog)

In response to the statistics on DUI fatalities, Utah has introduced the strictest BAC standard in the country and lowered the acceptable blood alcohol content limit to 0.05%. This may sound innovative, but a lot of other countries around the world have already introduced this law, as reported by the World Health Organization.


The US’s drinking and driving statistics are extremely worrying for this day and age. Considering the country’s leading position in the world and the fact that the automobile industry has made incredible progress, the alarmingly high statistics on DUIs are quite disappointing. The total number of drunk drivers on the roads at every moment is shocking, not to mention how many repeat offenders there are. It gets even worse when you consider the number of children who’ve lost their lives due to drunk driving.

Additionally, drivers with DUI on their record will be considered high-risk, meaning they’ll have a hard time finding affordable car insurance. They’ll often need SR22 certificate too, which presents additional expense and hassle.

In order to improve these horrendous drunk driving statistics, better education, more frequent BAC controls, and a lower maximum BAC level would all make a major difference.  






















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