Alcohol Impaired Driving

Breathalyzer

Alcohol impairment is a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities. In 2016, 10,497 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver, 28 percent of all fatalities.1Drive Sober

State and local law enforcement officials work year-round to identify alcohol-impaired drivers and get them off our roads. At specific times throughout the year, these efforts are amplified through the national drunk driving crackdown, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GHSA's member State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) work with their state and local law enforcement partners on this campaign, which combines high visibility law enforcement and public awareness and education campaigns to deter or detect drunk drivers. Many states also conduct sobriety checkpoints throughout the year.

GHSA Policy

Click here to view GHSA's Policies and Priorities on Impaired Driving.

Many drunk drivers are repeat offenders. To prevent those convicted of drunk driving from making the same bad decision again, ignition interlocks are often employed. These devices analyze a driver's breath and disable the engine if alcohol is detected. Judges can mandate that all or a portion of convicted drunk drivers install interlocks in their cars for a specified period of time. All states now operate some type of ignition interlock program.

1 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2017, October). 2016 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Crash•Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 456). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812456

Facts & Figures

Alcohol-Impaired Fatalities Up 1.7% in 2016
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Laws

All states but Utah define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, and specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state. Effective December 30, 2018, Utah’s BAC will be set at 0.05 percent.

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