The Dangers of Drinking and Driving

The smallest proportional decline was observed among 46- to 64-year-olds, where only a 1-percent reduction occurred. NHTSA demonstrates its commitment to eliminating drunk driving through research, public awareness campaigns, and state safety grant programs. We will continue until there are zero drunk-driving crashes on our roadways. Coping with the effects of drunk driving may be even more difficult for you if you were the drunk driver.

consequences of drinking and driving

All alcohol-attributable mortality is in principle avoidable and future alcohol policies are likely to be most effective if they take into consideration any differential effect on socioeconomic groups (Probst et al., 2014). NLAES data showed that the younger respondents were when they first began to drink alcohol, the more likely they were to develop alcohol dependence (Grant 1998). If all States adopted these countermeasures, which have been shown to reduce alcohol-related motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths, it is possible the United States would again experience declines in alcohol-related deaths and injuries.


To this day, drunk driving contributes significantly to the number of injuries and deaths related to alcohol. In the US alone, drunk drivers are involved in car crashes that kill 28 people every day. Drunk driving-related accidents also cost Americans tens of billions of dollars every year. The majority of DUI arrests and alcohol-related crashes are committed by repeat offenders; over half of arrests include drivers with a suspended license.

  • These things might make you feel less inebriated, but only time can sober you up by lowering your BAC (6).
  • We will continue until there are zero drunk-driving crashes on our roadways.
  • Once an IID is installed, the car won’t start unless someone blows into a tube with an alcohol-free breath.
  • In 2011 alone, close to one million high school teens admitted to drinking and driving.
  • Brief interventions involve assessing readiness, motivators, and barriers to behavior change.

Additionally, fatal crashes involving a 0.08% BAC level or higher are charged as alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. Even though alcohol-impaired driving fatality rate has been reportedly decreasing, motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol cost the United States roughly $44 billion each year. Prevention campaigns in the United States began in earnest in the early 1980s (2).

Zero Tolerance Laws

Additionally, almost one-quarter of college students who self-identify as current drinkers consume alcohol with energy drinks, putting themselves at a higher risk of serious consequences, as caffeine affects a drinker’s ability to judge their level of impairment (O’Brien et al., 2008). Data from the 2005–2011 Monitoring the Future study also show that about one-fifth of high school seniors binge drink, and intensity of binge drinking is higher for students in rural areas (Patrick et al., 2013). Alcohol consumption, while intertwined with many social and cultural norms in the United States, is not uniform consequences of drinking and driving across all populations (Babor, 2010a) and the overall prevalence of alcohol consumption varies. The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that of people 18 years or older, 86.4 percent have drunk alcohol at some time in their lives, 70.1 percent drank in the past year, and 56.0 percent drank in the past month (SAMHSA, 2016). These data run counter to the misperception that drinking is more widespread than it actually is, particularly among college-aged students, for whom drinking prevalence is commonly overestimated (Baer et al., 1991; Martens et al., 2006; Perkins et al., 2005).

consequences of drinking and driving