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Long-term drunk driving fatalities continue to fall

Recent news stories have estimated a nine percent increase in traffic fatalities for 2015. The latest available drunk driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are for the year 2014 and were released this past December. Before we get ahead of the data, let’s review what we know for sure.

Drunk driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of fatal crashes, down 1.4 percent from 10,110 in 2013 to 9,967 in 2014. Among persons under the age of 21 alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities reached a new record low level in 2014 declining nationally and in 25 states. The number of drunk driving fatalities involving our nation’s youth decreased 1.3 percent from 1,066 in 2013 to 1,052 in 2014.

Since record keeping began in 1982, drunk driving fatalities have decreased 53 percent and NHTSA estimates show the involvement of alcohol in fatal crashes has decreased from 60 percent to 31 percent over this same time period. However, the impact of the hardcore drunk driver remains relatively unchanged with 69% of drunk driving fatalities involving a driver with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.15 or higher.

The 2014 State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America report takes a more in-depth look at drunk driving statistics nationally, by state and among persons under 21, including annual and long-term trends. To see these and other drunk driving statistics in the US visit our State Map. The full report and the individual charts are also available for printing.

Since the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s (Responsibility.org) inception in 1991 drunk driving fatalities have reached record lows by decreasing 37 percent and among our nation’s youth, the decline in drunk driving fatalities has been even more significant since then, decreasing 64 percent. Responsibility.org’s efforts have contributed to this success, and we will continue to lead the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking by igniting a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility through creativity, thought leadership and proven strategies to stop impaired driving. Together, we can end impaired driving.

Maureen Dalbec, Vice President of Research at Responsibility.org, and her husband are proud parents of two college age children. In her free time she enjoys running and swimming and occasionally competing in triathlons as well as volunteering in her community.

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