Eliminating Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities
Alcohol-impaired driving is the deadliest and costliest danger on the nation’s roads, with approximately one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States caused by drinking and driving. One person dies in an alcohol-impaired driving crash every 49 minutes—that is 29 people each day. In 2016, 10,497 deaths were caused by alcohol-impaired driving—the largest single cause of traffic fatalities (see Figure 1, page 4). In comparison, distracted driving accounted for 3,450 fatalities in 2016. Almost 40% of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities are victims other than the drinking driver. The economic cost is staggering: $121.5 billion in 2010, including medical costs, earnings and productivity losses, legal costs, and vehicle damage (see box, page 4).
Although the causes of this problem are complex, the resulting deaths are preventable. A report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine early this year identifies many evidence-based and promising policies, programs, and systems changes to accelerate national progress in reducing deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.