Stay up to date with Executive Director Labels NHTSA 2021 Traffic Data Showing Rise in Drunk Driving Fatalities ‘A Blaring Wake-Up Call’, Issues Urgent Call-To-Action

WASHINGTON — today issued the below statement from Executive Director Leslie Kimball in response to a report released on Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, titled, “Overview of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes in 2021.”

Statement from Kimball:

“Monday’s release of the 2021 traffic fatality data by NHTSA is deeply concerning. Particularly during Alcohol Responsibility Month, we are saddened to see that traffic fatalities overall and drunk driving deaths specifically increased in 2021. Our hearts are broken for the families and communities affected by these tragedies.

The data shows that alcohol-impaired driving deaths increased 14% from 11,718 in 2020 to 13,384 in 2021. What's more, drunk driving fatalities are at the highest level since 1992. Every single one of these deaths were 100% preventable. This is unacceptable.

While long-term trends continue to show an overall decline in drunk driving fatalities since record keeping began in 1982, the newly released data serves as a blaring wake-up call that we must do more to address this national public safety issue. Risky driving behaviors, such as alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, and unrestrained vehicle occupants, continue to perpetuate the rise in traffic-related deaths. This data does not include drug-impaired driving numbers — a growing issue about which our organization is also deeply concerned and engaged in addressing.

These unfortunate statistics reinforce's commitment to promote alcohol responsibility and safe driving practices. We believe that education, public awareness campaigns, targeted policies and employing evidence-based countermeasures are key to reducing drunk driving fatalities. And we will continue to work with all stakeholders to promote responsible alcohol consumption and make our roads safer for everyone."


About is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empower adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi USA, Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Campari Group; Constellation Brands; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; Pernod Ricard USA; and William Grant & Sons. For more than 30 years, has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit

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