2005 Drunk Driving Statistics

Click here for drunk driving statistics for 2006; 2004; 2003; 2002; 2001; 2000.

Below are some statistics on drinking and driving in the US.

Drunk driving is no accident.

There were 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 – 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedalcyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality. The term 'alcohol-related' does not indicate that a crash or fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol."

Note the last paragraph, and in particular, the last sentence. This would seem to make the statistics below a little misleading since we tend to think that alcohol-related crashes are caused by drunk drivers. But if a sober driver kills an alcohol-impaired pedestrian, it's still considered an alcohol-related crash.  Does this invalidate the drunk driving statistics below? No. The statistics reveal that most fatal alcohol-related crashes do indeed involve drunk drivers and far fewer of these fatalities involve intoxicated pedestrians or "bicyclists and other cyclists".

Nationwide in 2005, alcohol was present in 24 percent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes (BAC .01-.07, 4 percent; BAC .08 or greater, 20 percent).

The 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 (39% of total traffic fatalities for the year) represent a 5-percent reduction from the 17,732 alcohol related fatalities reported in 1995 (42% of the total).

The 16,885 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 2005 represent an average
of one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes.

Of the 16,885 people who died in alcohol-related crashes in 2005, 14,539 (86%) were killed in crashes where at least one driver or nonoccupant had a BAC of .08 or higher.

The drunk driving statistics show that raffic fatalities in alcohol-related crashes fell by 0.2 percent, from 16,919 in 2004 to 16,885 in 2005. [Note that this figure for 2004 is higher than what we've shown for 2004 (16,694 deaths) because our data came from preliminary reports.  The final government report counted more drunk driving deaths.]

NHTSA estimates that alcohol was involved in 39 percent of fatal crashes and in
7 percent of all crashes in 2005. The national rate of alcohol-related fatalities in
motor vehicle crashes in 2005 was 0.57 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

An estimated 254,000 persons were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured approximately every 2 minutes.

In 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program
estimated that over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 139 licensed
drivers in the United States. (2005 data not yet available.)

In 2005, 21 percent of the children age 14 and younger who were killed in motor
vehicle crashes were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

In 2005, a total of 414 (21%) of the fatalities among children age 14 and younger
occurred in crashes involving alcohol. Of those 414 fatalities, more than half (224)
of those killed were passengers in vehicles with drivers with BAC levels of .01 or higher.

Another 48 children age 14 and younger who were killed in traffic crashes in 2005
were pedestrians or pedalcyclists who were struck by drivers with BAC .01 or higher.

The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than 3 times higher
at night as during the day. For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate is 5 times higher at night.

The highest percentage of drivers in fatal crashes who had BAC levels of .08 or
higher was for drivers ages 21 to 24 followed by the 25 to 34 age group.

Alcohol related deaths in the US since 1982:

 
Total fatalities
Alcohol related fatalities
Year
Number
Number
Percent
1982
43,945
26,173
60
1983
42,589
24,635
58
1984
44,257
24,762
56
1985
43,825
23,167
53
1986
46,087
25,017
54
1987
46,390
24,094
52
1988
47,087
23,833
51
1989
45,582
22,424
49
1990
44,599
22,587
51
1991
41,508
20,159
49
1992
39,250
18,290
47
1993
40,150
17,908
45
1994
40,716
17,308
43
1995
41,817
17,732
42
1996
42,065
17,749
42
1997
42,013
16,711
40
1998
41,501
16,673
40
1999
41,717
16,572
40
2000
41,945
17,380
41
2001
42,196
17,400
41
2002
43,005
17,524
41
2003
42,643
17,013
40
2004
42,518
16,919
39
2005
43,443
16,885
39

Drinking and driving fatalities by state in 2005 (ranked by highest number of alcohol related deaths):

State
Total Fatalities

Alcohol-Related Fatalities

Number
Percent
4329
1719
40
3504
1569
45
3543
1471
42
1616
636
39
1361
580
43
1534
549
36
1729
545
32
1429
524
37
1257
515
41
1323
505
38
1177
492
42
1093
464
42
1270
464
37
1131
423
37
1129
421
37
955
394
41
931
371
40
815
369
45
947
347
37
938
320
34
985
313
32
647
294
45
802
283
35
748
263
35
606
244
40
614
235
38
648
233
36
559
201
36
488
189
39
488
177
36
442
171
39
427
159
37
428
151
35
374
126
34
251
124
49
274
120
44
450
118
26
276
91
33
275
89
32
186
80
43
140
71
51
134
66
49
170
65
38
166
60
36
169
59
35
123
58
47
87
43
50
282
37
13
72
35
48
73
29
40
48
26
55

National
43,443
16,885
39

 

Imagine if more people had personal breathalyzers to test themselves before getting behind the wheel.