Fatal Crashes and Fatalities Involving Alcohol-Impaired Drivers

In 2006, 13,470 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. These alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 32 percent of the total motor vehicle traffc fatalities in the United States.

Traffc fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes fell by 0.8 percent, from 13,582 in 2005 to 13,470 in 2006. The 13,470 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2006 were almost the same as compared to 13,451 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities reported in 1996.

Drivers are considered to be alcohol-impaired when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality occurring in a crash involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher is considered to be an alcohol-impaired-driving fatality. The term “driver” refers to the operator of any motor vehicle, including a motorcycle.

Estimates of alcohol-impaired driving are generated using BAC values reported to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and imputed BAC values when they are not reported. The term “alcohol-impaired” does not indicate that a crash or a fatality was caused by alcohol impairment.

The 13,470 fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during 2006 represent an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 39 minutes.

In 2006, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had by law created a threshold making it illegal per se to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. Of the 13,470 people who died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2006, 8,615 (64%) were drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 4,030 (30%) motor vehicle occupants and 825 (6%) nonoccupants.

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2 thoughts on “Fatal Crashes and Fatalities Involving Alcohol-Impaired Drivers

  1. Not in and of itself. Depending on the symptoms, there could be times when it’s not all that good an idea. Depression comes to mind. Also, if a person is uncomfortable enough, that can be distracting. Can’t answer, really. I’d err on the side of caution, though.

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