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DATA POINTS: Alcohol and traffic deaths

  • Between 1982 and 1993, 266,291 deaths in the United States were alcohol-related -- one fatality every 30 minutes.

  • Traffic fatalities in alcohol-related crashes rose by 4 percent from 1994 to 1995. The 17,274 alcohol-related fatalities in 1995 (41 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year) represent a 24 percent reduction from the 22,715 alcohol-related fatalities reported in 1985 (52 percent of the total).

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that alcohol was involved in 41 percent of fatal crashes and in 7 percent of all crashes in 1995.

  • The 17,274 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 1995 represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 30 minutes.

  • More than 300,000 people were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present -- an average of one person injured approximately every two minutes.

  • Approximately 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 1994 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of one for every 127 licensed drivers in the United States.

  • In 1995, 32 percent of all traffic fatalities occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or nonoccupant had a blood-alcohol content of .10 or greater. More than two-thirds of the 13,564 people killed in such crashes were themselves intoxicated. The remaining one-third were passengers, nonintoxicated drivers, or nonintoxicated nonoccupants.

  • The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is three and one-third times as high at night as during the day (62.3 percent vs. 18.8 percent). For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate is nearly five times as high at night (14 percent vs. 3 percent).

  • In 1995, 32 percent of all fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-related, compared to 54 percent on weekends. For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate was 5 percent during the week and 11 percent during the weekend.

  • In 1995, 32.5 percent of all fatal traffic accidents involved drivers with a blood-alcohol content of greater than .10.

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