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How many people die from alcohol related issues in the US every year?


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December 01, 2011 5:40PM

Alcohol Impaired Driving Statistics

Total Fatalities / Fatality Rates

  1. 250,000 people have died in alcohol related accidents in the past 10 years.
  2. Presently 25,000 people are killed each year in alcohol related accidents.
  3. 500 people are killed each week in alcohol related accidents.
  4. 71 people are killed each day in alcohol related accidents.
  5. One American life is lost every 20 minutes in alcohol related auto crashes.
  6. It is estimated that one out of every two Americans will be involved in an alcohol related accident in his or her lifetime.
  7. In 1994, New Hampshire had 119 total highway fatalities, 42 were alcohol related (or 35.3% of the total). New Hampshire leads the nation with one of the lowest percentages of alcohol related fatalities.

Cause of Death

  1. Alcohol related crashes are the leading cause of death for young Americans, between the ages of 16 and 24 years old.
  2. For all Americans between 5 and 35 years of age, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death. Over 50% of these accidents are caused by alcohol impaired drivers.

Recent Alcohol-Involvement

  1. Over 50% of all fatal highway crashes involving two or more cars are alcohol related.
  2. Over 65% of all fatal single car crashes are alcohol related.
  3. Over 36% percent of all adult pedestrian accidents are alcohol related.
  4. 80% of all fatal alcohol related auto crashes occur between 8 pm and 8 am.
  5. 36% of all adult pedestrian accidents involve an intoxicated pedestrian.

Injury Crashes / Collisions

  1. Every year, 708,000 persons are injured in alcohol related crashes; 74, 000 of those people suffer serious injuries.
  2. About 2,000 people are hurt each day in alcohol related accidents.
  3. Two million alcohol impaired driving collisions occur each year.

Arrest / Characteristics of Alcohol Impaired Drivers

  1. Of every 200 to 2,000 alcohol impaired drivers on the road, only one is arrested. Therefore, the probability of getting caught is slim. Of those who are caught, very few receive a serious penalty.
  2. The average alcohol impaired driver arrested on the highway has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .20%, double the level for presumed intoxication in most states; that is 14 drinks of 86% proof liquor (or 14 beers) in 4 hours for a 180 lb. man.
  3. Between 7 pm and 3 am on weekends, 10% of all drivers are legally impaired, in some parts of the country.Most Americans drink alcohol. Over 80% admit to driving after drinking.
  4. Relatively few problem drinkers, about 7% of the driving population, account for over 66% of all alcohol related fatal accidents.
  5. When drinkers are at the presumed level of intoxication, the risk of causing an accident is six times greater than for non-drinking drivers.


  1. Although persons between 16 and 24 years old comprise only 20% of the total licensed population, and 20% of the total vehicle miles traveled in this country by all licensed drivers, they cause 42 percent of all fatal atcohol related crashes.

Economic / Societal Cost

  1. According to a recent Allstate Insurance Company study, alcohol impaired drivers are estimated to cost American taxpayers $21 - $24 billion dollars per year.
  2. National Geographic recently stated that alcohol abuse costs American society $136 billion and 65,000 lives annually.


  1. Admittedly, the United States has one of the safest highway systems in the world, due in part to design characteristics, guard rails, highway markings and signs. We have relatively few fatalities per 100-million miles driven. But the portion of our accidents involving alcohol is among the highest in the world.
  2. An accident by an alcohol impaired driver is the most frequently committed violent crime in the United States today.
  3. Other alcohol-related statistics show the involvement of alcohol in many non-driving aspects:
  • 40% of all suicide attempts are alcohol-related
  • 54% of all violent crimes are alcohol-related
  • 60% of all emergency room admissions are alcohol-related
  • 80% of all domestic disputes are alcohol-related

From statistics complied by the U. S. Dept. of Transportation and the N. H. Department of Safety.