Every 2‐hours, three people are killed in alcohol‐related highway crashes. The consequences of drinking and driving are arrests, property damage, injuries and thousands of deaths each year.
An estimated 4 million U.S. adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in 2010—yielding an estimated 112 million alcohol‐impaired driving episodes. Men accounted for 81 percent of these incidents.
Given the rate of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is remarkable that the fatality rate is not greater. Alcohol‐related highway crashes accounted for 13,365 deaths in 2010 (as shown in figure 1). In addition, alcohol‐related highway crashes annually cost Americans an estimated $37 billion.
However, drunk driving awareness and enforcement efforts such as Zero Tolerance Laws may be having a positive impact. The percentage of alcohol‐related fatalities decreased from 50.6 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 2009. And all 50 States, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, now have a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit for determining if drivers are driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), up from just 2 in 1990. Among major crimes, driving under the influence has one of the highest arrest rates with more than 1.4 million DUI arrests in 2010.
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