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Impaired driving affects you, even if you are not the one drinking and driving

More than a third of the people killed when an alcohol-impaired-driver* crashes are not the impaired drivers.

In 2011, 9,878 people lost their lives because of drunk driving. These people make up one-third (31%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States. The total number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes has fallen, but the proportion of those fatalities that are from drunk-driving crashes has remained the same for the past 10 years.

Our attitudes on impaired driving have changed but we still have room for improvement. Forty years ago in a roadside survey of drivers, almost 1 in 12 (8%) were driving drunk. The most recent data (2007) from the same survey shows that rate is down to 1 in 50 (2%), which is good progress. Those impaired drivers still claim the lives of nearly 10,000 people a year – and one-third are their passengers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Drunk drivers cost our economy nearly $60 billion a year (Economic Impact of Crashes 2000).

These are preventable crashes, easily within our control by making better decisions as drivers, passengers, and friends.

*Drivers are considered to be alcohol-impaired when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 g/dL or higher, the illegal per se alcohol limit in every State. Drivers under the age of 21 may not drive after consuming any alcohol because of Zero Tolerance Laws and may be arrested or cited for driving at BACs below .08 in every State.

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