Drunk Driving Statistics

  • In 2005, 16,885 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes -- an average of one almost every half-hour. These deaths constituted approximately 39 percent of the 43,443 total traffic fatalities.
  • Thirty percent of all fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-related, compared to 51 percent on weekends. For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate was 5 percent during the week and 12 percent during the weekend.
  • For fatal crashes occurring from midnight to 3 a.m., 77 percent involved alcohol. The next most dangerous time period for alcohol-related crash deaths was 9 p.m. to midnight, followed by 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than three times as high at night as during the day (60 percent vs. 18 percent). For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate is five times as high at night (16 percent vs. 3 percent).
  • The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour. Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help.          
  • A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 72-proof distilled spirits, all of which contain the same amount of alcohol ­-- about .54 ounces.
  • Beer is the drink of choice in most cases of heavy drinking, binge drinking, drunk driving and underage drinking. Alcohol-related fatalities are caused primarily by the consumption of beer (80 percent) followed by liquor/wine at 20 percent.
  • Nearly three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.

-- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
and Mothers Against Drunk Driving