Motor vehicles crashes are the leading
cause of death for Americans from age 3 to 33.
Alcohol was involved in 39 % of fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2004.
Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost the public more than $50
billion in 2000, and 75 percent of these costs occurred in crashes where a
driver or non-occupant had a blood alcohol concentration of (BAC) of .10 grams
per deciliter or higher.
About every 31 minutes, someone is killed in the United States in an
Impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the United
About one-third of all drivers arrested for DWI have a previous DWI
Drivers with prior DWI convictions are over-represented in fatal crashes and
have a greater relative risk of involvement in a fatal crash.
How Effective Are Repeat Intoxicated Driver Laws?
Research has shown that driver-licensing sanctions have a significant impact on
impaired driving in general. Licensing sanctions imposed under State
administrative license revocation systems (not the criminal justice system) have
resulted in reductions in alcohol-related fatalities of between 6 and 9 percent.
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Illinois, New Mexico, Maine, North Carolina, Colorado, and Utah experienced
significant reductions in alcohol-related fatal crashes following enactment of
administrative license revocation procedures. The studies support the notion
that licensing sanctions deter repeat DWI offenders from driving impaired.
Although many repeat intoxicated drivers continue to drive without a license
after their license has been revoked, studies have shown that those who drive
tend to drive less frequently and more carefully. For further information about
licensing sanctions, see NHTSA's Traffic Safety Facts-Administrative License
Additional sanctions including a variety of vehicle sanction programs, have been
applied successfully to deter repeat DWI offenses. California's vehicle
impoundment program resulted in substantially fewer subsequent offenses,
convictions, and repeat offenders make up a large portion of the impaired
driving problem. One-third of all driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) or
driving-under-the-influence (DUI) arrests each year involve drivers convicted
previously of DWI/DUI.
For 2004, the most frequently recorded BAC level among drinking drivers
involved in fatal crashes was.18 g/dL.
It is estimated that half al all drivers arrested and half of those convicted
of DWI have BACs of .15 or above.