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Drunk Driving Fatalities

Since 1982, drunk driving fatalities on our nation’s roadways have decreased 51%, while total traffic fatalities have declined nearly 20%.  Among persons under 21, drunk driving fatalities have decreased 80%.  Despite this progress, we still have more work to do, and our commitment to eliminate drunk driving is stronger than ever. Hardcore drunk drivers continue to wreak havoc on our nation’s road accounting for 70% of drunk driving fatalities, where there is a known alcohol-test result for the driver – a trend that has remained relatively unchanged for more than a decade.

Our state map allows you to search and review individual state drunk driving and under 21 drinking statistics and see how they compare to the national trends.  Also available to download and share is our State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America summary which includes tables and graphs summarizing the latest information available on drunk driving fatality statistics.

Drunk Driving Fatalities – National Statistics

In 2016, the rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population was 3.3, representing a 65% decrease since 1982, when record keeping began, and a 49% decrease since the inception of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in 1991. 

Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 28% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities in 2016. Between 1991 and 2016, the rate of drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population has decreased 49% nationally, and 68% among those under 21. These statistics and others are positive indicators of the gains being made to fight drunk driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,461 people died in traffic crashes in 2016 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,497 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). Among the people killed in these drunk driving crashes, 67% (7,052) were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 or higher.
View Individual National Drunk Driving Fatalities Charts (PDFs) below:

Underage Drunk Driving Fatalities  – National Statistics

Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began recording alcohol-related statistics in 1982, the number of persons under 21, killed in drunk driving crashes decreased 80% from the record high of 5,215 in 1982 to 1,031 in 2016. These fatalities account for 10% of the drunk driving fatalities in the U.S.

For every 100,000 Americans under the age of 21, 1.2 people were killed in drunk driving fatalities in 2016. The rate of under 21 drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population has declined 45% over the past decade.

Drunk Driving Fatalities State Statistics 

Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates national and state alcohol-impaired statistics, drunk driving statistics can vary by state for many reasons. The rate of alcohol-impaired fatalities per 100,000 population represents the number of drunk driving fatalities for every 100,000 persons in the population being measured (e.g., U.S. total vs. specific state) which allows for more like comparisons in the data.

In 2016, the drunk driving fatality rate was 3.3 per 100,000 population nationally. In 22 states and D.C., the drunk driving fatality rate per 100,000 population was at or below the national level.
View Individual State Drunk Driving Fatalities Charts (PDFs) below:

  • Drunk Driving Fatalities
  • Underage Drunk Driving Fatalities
  • Change in Drunk Driving Fatalities
  • Change in Underage Drunk Driving Fatalities
  • Rate of Drunk Driving Fatalities per 100,000