Close to 13,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year involve drunk driving, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Moreover, the cost of drunk driving to U.S. taxpayers totals more than $100 billion annually.
Of the close to 160 million self-reported incidents of individuals driving under the influence, fewer than 1 percent result in an arrest, states the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Each year, there are 780,000 convictions on drunk driving charges, and two-thirds of those ultimately imprisoned are repeat offenders.
A blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent is illegal in all 50 U.S. states, and it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to drive with a level of blood alcohol higher than zero. Additionally, one in six deaths of children in traffic accidents involves impaired driving, and 19 percent of driving deaths for those aged 16 to 20 involve alcohol, reports the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Deaths from drunk driving had fallen to half the number reported in 1980, as of 2012. Drunk driving is most prevalent in 21- to 24-year-olds, and men are almost twice as likely as women to drive under the influence, states Mothers Against Drunk Driving.