Drunk Driving Statistics: The Good and The Bad

Even if you never, ever, ever drive drunk, drunk driving is something you have to worry about. Drunk driving statistics say that the chance of being involved in an alcohol-impaired crash is one in three over the course of a lifetime, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration. Every day, 28 people in the United States die in an alcohol-related vehicle crash.

But are things getting better? We’ve compiled a few drinking-and-driving statistics that show some good news and some bad news about the prevalence of DUIs and drunk driving.

Drunk Driving Statistics Infographic

drunk driving statistics

Good news: DUIs — especially teen DUIs — are decreasing.

In 2015, 437,686 people in the U.S. were arrested for driving under the influence. That’s a pretty huge number, but here’s the good news: that represents a 5.2 percent drop from 2014. The same is true for drivers under 18 years old. Just under 3,000 were arrested for DUI in 2015, which is a 6.1 percent decrease from 2014.

Bad news: A lot more people drive drunk and don’t get caught.

According to MADD’s drunk driving statistics, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times each day. Only about 1 percent of them are arrested. Don’t read this as assurance that you can drink and drive and not get caught. Instead, think about how many impaired drivers are out on the roads right now, threatening you and the people you love. Male drivers account for just over 75 percent of all these DUI arrests. Dudes, get your act together!

Bad news: One consequence of a DUI conviction is drastically higher car insurance premiums.

Insurers calculate rates based on risk — and if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you automatically become a very high risk. On average, DUI insurance premiums are 28 percent higher, which works out to an extra $569 per year. You may pay a whole lot more than that if you caused an accident while driving drunk, or if you’re a repeat offender. You’ll also need an SR-22, a special form that states you’re covered by insurance.

The rising cost of insurance isn’t the only expense of a DUI, either.

Good news: Few Compare.com customers have been convicted of a DUI.

When people come to our site to compare car insurance quotes, we ask them a few questions about their driving record. Less than 1 percent report a DUI conviction. Good job, guys! Your reward (besides knowing you did the right thing): lower rates on your car insurance.

Good news: Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen over the past 30 years.

In 1985, drunk drivers caused 18,125 deaths. That’s a lot of blood on the road. In the three decades since, the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving has fallen significantly, to 10,265 in 2015. Considering that there are many, many more cars on the road now, that’s a substantial achievement. The drop may be caused more by improvements in vehicle safety than by safer driving habits, however.

Bad news: Drunk-driving fatalities have hit a plateau.

Ever since 2010, the U.S. has seen around 10,000 deaths per year in crashes involving alcohol — around 30-31 percent of all fatal crashes. That number just won’t budge, and actually ticked upward in 2015 to 10,265. The most dangerous states (those with the highest percentages of alcohol-involved road fatalities) are Connecticut, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas and Wyoming.

The moral of all these drunk-driving statistics: Don’t be a jerk. Don’t drink and drive. And stay safe out there!

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