Number of Motor Vehicle Deaths Compels National Effort to Crack Down on Drunk Driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a national campaign that spotlights the tragic consequences of drunk driving.

When announcing the new campaign, called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” the NHTSA said that 70 percent of all fatalities in drunk driving accidents in 2010 involved drivers with blood alcohol levels of more than double .08. A blood alcohol concentration of .08 is the legal limit in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Almost One Third of Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involve Drunk Drivers

Other grim drunk-driving statistics from the NHTSA:

• 10,228 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2010. That’s 31 percent of all those who died in motor vehicle accidents that year.

• 7,145 of those fatalities involved drivers whose blood alcohol concentration was .15 or higher

• Seventeen percent of the fatalities were passengers in vehicles driven by a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher

• More than 1,800 of the drunk-driving deaths in 2010 were individuals not in a vehicle or who were in a vehicle hit by a drunk driver

• An average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 51 minutes in 2010

Missouri and Illinois Drunk Driving Statistics

In addition, the not-for profit Century Council reports that almost eight out of every 10 driving deaths in Missouri for 2010 involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher. In Illinois, it was about three out of every four (73.9 percent).

The NHTSA’s campaign to crack down on drunk driving began August 17 and runs through Labor Day. The agency is working with over 10,000 local law enforcement agencies and police departments throughout the country as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Governors Highway Safety Association, and the National Center for DWI Courts.