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SELECT A STATE from the National Totals dropdown menu to view statistics about impaired driving and underage drinking.

SELECT A LAW to view the details of each state’s impaired driving and underage drinking laws.

See how your state measures up to the rest of the country!

State Law: DUID Affirmative Defense
  • Affirmative defense
  • No affirmative defense
  • Special circumstances

In every state in the country, it is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs. Some states have zero tolerance (ZT) or per se DUID laws that make it illegal for a person to drive with certain drugs (or more than a specified amount of certain drugs) in their system. The laws operate similarly to the nation’s 0.08 BAC laws for alcohol. However, they typically afford drugged drivers an absolute “affirmative defense” essentially exempting those who take medications pursuant to a valid prescription. The defense applies to the ZT and per se provisions only; it does not apply to the traditional DUI provisions. The rationale for this is simple. First, drivers should not be entitled to drive while impaired by any substance, regardless of its legality. Thus, just as a driver with a blood alcohol level below 0.08 is guilty of DUI if they drive impaired, a driver with a valid prescription for a drug is guilty of DUI if they drive while impaired. Second, doctors cannot authorize a person to drive while impaired by giving them a prescription.

The following chart contains links to the current affirmative defense statutes.

For more information about drug-impaired driving laws and enforcement, please refer to this resource. To learn more about the drug-impaired driving laws in your state, visit our DUID map and our marijuana-impaired driving map.

To submit a law update, please contact out Director of Traffic Safety at erin.holmes@responsibility.org

2015 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data National
Total Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities 10,265
Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities of Total Fatalities 29.3
Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities 1,021
Percent of Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities of Total Under 21 Fatalities 23.0
2015 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100,000 Population
Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K population 3.2
Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K population 1.2
2006-2015 % Change in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K Pop
10-year Change in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K pop -29.0
10-year Change in Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K pop -49.7
Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Involving high BAC drivers (.15+)*
BAC=.15+ 69.2
Percent of Drivers in Fatal Crashes Involving Repeat Offenders
BAC .08-.14 27.0
BAC .15+ 73.0
12-20 Year Old Alcohol Consumption (latest available)
Past Month Alcohol Consumption (2014-2015) 21.6
Binge Drinking in Past 30-days (2012-2014) 14.4
2015 Arrest Data
Under 18: Driving under the influence 5,064
Total: Driving under the influence 833,833
Under 18: Liquor laws 33,155
Total: Liquor laws 204,665
Under 18: Drunkenness 4,243
Total: Drunkenness 314,856

Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data Source: NHTSA/FARS, 10/16

*Among drivers with a known alcohol test result

*Youth Consumption Data Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 12/15, (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh)

*Arrest Data Source: 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Report (Tables 38 and 69)

**Drunkenness is not considered a crime in some states; therefore, the figures may vary widely from state to state

*Limited, incomplete, or no data were reported by the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, and New York in the 2015 Uniform Crime Report. Data should be used with caution and should not be compared to other states or previous year data.

Note: Because the number of agencies submitting arrest data varies from year to year, users are cautioned about making direct comparisons between 2015 arrest totals and those published in previous years’ editions of Crime in the United States. Further, arrest figures may vary widely from state to state because some Part II crimes of the Uniform Crime Report are not considered crimes in some states.

For a comprehensive report on the 2015 (latest available) State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America, click here.

State State Law
Alabama No affirmative defense
Alaska Affirmative defense
Arizona Special circumstances
Arkansas No affirmative defense
California Special circumstances
Colorado No affirmative defense
Connecticut No affirmative defense
Delaware Affirmative defense
District of Columbia No affirmative defense
Florida No affirmative defense
Georgia Special circumstances
Hawaii No affirmative defense
Idaho No affirmative defense
Illinois No affirmative defense
Indiana Affirmative defense
Iowa Affirmative defense
Kansas No affirmative defense
Kentucky Affirmative defense
Louisiana Affirmative defense
Maine No affirmative defense
Maryland Affirmative defense
Massachusetts No affirmative defense
Michigan No affirmative defense
Minnesota Affirmative defense
Mississippi No affirmative defense
Missouri No affirmative defense
Montana No affirmative defense
Nebraska No affirmative defense
Nevada No affirmative defense
New Hampshire No affirmative defense
New Jersey No affirmative defense
New Mexico No affirmative defense
New York No affirmative defense
North Carolina Special circumstances
North Dakota Affirmative defense
Ohio Affirmative defense
Oklahoma No affirmative defense
Oregon No affirmative defense
Pennsylvania No affirmative defense
Rhode Island No affirmative defense
South Carolina No affirmative defense
South Dakota No affirmative defense
Tennessee No affirmative defense
Texas No affirmative defense
Utah Affirmative defense
Vermont No affirmative defense
Virginia No affirmative defense
Washington Special circumstances
West Virginia No affirmative defense
Wisconsin Affirmative defense
Wyoming No affirmative defense