Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk Driving Statistics

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Drunk Driving Statistics

When you or someone you love has been harmed in a drunk driving accident, it is important to act swiftly. In many cases, victims of drunk drivers can successfully pursue financial compensation for their costs and losses.

Drunk driving is also called “driving under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). This type of behavior is a serious crime in the United States. 

Drunk driving statistics show that DWI is responsible for a significant number of accidents and deaths each year. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving alcohol, it is important to speak with a legal professional.

A skilled tort lawyer who understands drunk driving statistics can help you fight for justice in your case. Make sure to reach out to Morgan & Morgan in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident.

Our accomplished team of litigators has more than three decades of experience with car accident claims. We will accurately calculate the value of your case and work tirelessly to obtain the money you are entitled to. 

We know that victims of intoxicated drivers face a wide range of challenges and difficulties. Because of this, we will happily schedule a free legal case evaluation for you. 

Complete the simple online form today to arrange a consultation with a member of our firm’s friendly staff.

Understanding Drunk Driving in the U.S.

Typically, the term “drunk driving” refers to operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. The driver’s impairment can manifest in a range of signs and symptoms.

Some of the most common signs of drunk driving include:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decreased coordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Reduced visual acuity

These effects can cause motorists to maneuver in reckless and hazardous ways. Some of the most common driving behaviors that result from intoxication are:

  • Swerving between lanes
  • Drifting off the road
  • Sudden and erratic turns

When a drunk driver causes a collision, serious injuries are a distinct possibility. Drivers, passengers, and other road users may also experience fatal damage as a result of a drunk driving accident.

Drunk driving statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that increased levels of alcohol in a motorist’s blood are linked to the risk of collisions. Also, drunk driving statistics show that male drivers between the ages of 22 and 45 are most likely to be involved in alcohol-related crashes.

In the U.S., the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while operating a vehicle is 0.08%. In other words, if a motorist’s BAC is 0.08% or higher, they are considered intoxicated by law.

Still, impairment may happen even if a person’s BAC is below the legal limit. Depending on the circumstances, drivers can still be charged with DWI or DUI even if their BAC is under 0.08%.

How Police Enforce Drunk Driving Laws

To enforce drunk driving laws, police officers use many different methods to detect impairment. One of the typical methods is the use of a “breathalyzer.” 

Motorists breathe into the machine and it measures the driver’s BAC. If they blow above the legal limit, the driver may be arrested and charged with DUI or DWI. 

Officers sometimes also rely on field sobriety tests. With this method of detection, officers evaluate the driver’s:

  • Balance 
  • Motor coordination
  • Ability to follow instructions

Blood tests are also used to determine whether a motorist is intoxicated. These invasive tests are typically used after the driver is in police custody. 

The legal definition of “drunk driving” extends beyond the use of alcohol. Drivers may also be charged with drunk driving if they are under the effect of prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, or illegal substances.

The broad definition of intoxication can also affect drunk driving statistics across the country. When you have questions regarding how police determine whether a driver is intoxicated, ask a legal professional.

Detecting and prosecuting impaired driving presents legal challenges. This is because there is not an accepted method of intoxication detection for other illegal substances.

Police officers are trained to look for common signs of drug impairment in drivers. These may include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination

Many states have recently implemented laws to prevent distracted driving as well. Activities that draw motorists’ attention away from the road can be as dangerous as drunk driving.

Common Penalties and Punishments for Drunk Driving

The legal penalties for drunk driving convictions vary widely across the United States. While the victims of drunk drivers may file a civil claim for damages, DUI is also a criminal offense.

Financial fines are common penalties in drunk driving cases. The amount of the fine will vary depending on the state, the severity of the offense, and the circumstances of the case.

First-time offenders typically face lower fines than repeat offenders. Also, the fine may be especially high if the accident resulted in physical harm to another.

Another common penalty for DUI convictions is license suspension or revocation. In these cases, the driver’s license is revoked for a certain period of time.

The length of the suspension depends on the specific jurisdiction and the severity of the offense. Repeat drunk driving offenders may face permanent revocation of their license.

In some instances, courts may sentence drunk drivers to community service to make up for their infractions. Community service may involve unpaid work for a non-profit or public organization. 

Examples could include cleaning up parks or serving at a local food bank. The number of hours of service required by the court will depend on the nature of the offense.

Driving drunk is incredibly dangerous. That is why jail time is a possible penalty for this type of offense.

Finally, some states require convicted drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their car or truck. An IID is a breathalyzer device that controls access to the vehicle’s ignition system. 

Before the person can start their vehicle, they must blow into the device. The device measures their BAC and prevents the vehicle from starting if they blow above the legal limit. 

Drivers may also be required to periodically blow into the device while operating their vehicle. This ensures that they do not actively drink alcohol while driving.

Reasons to Hire a Lawyer After an Accident Involving a Drunk Driver

In the case of a drunk driving accident, a skilled tort attorney at Morgan and Morgan can be instrumental in helping you pursue justice. A member of our legal team can assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries and losses.

Consider the following ways in which a personal injury attorney can help you:


One of the first things an accomplished tort attorney will do in drunk driving cases is to investigate the facts. Assessing the circumstances of the crash will help to determine the cause of the collision.

Investigating the facts of your drunk driving claim may involve:

  • Interviewing witnesses to the incident
  • Reviewing police reports and medical records
  • Examining the scene of the crash
  • Viewing traffic camera footage

As America’s largest tort law firm, Morgan and Morgan also has access to accident reconstruction specialists. Expert testimony is often useful in proving fault and calculating the extent of the victim’s injuries.

Determining Legal Liability

Winning a tort case involves proving that the other party was negligent. Plaintiffs must also show that the at-fault party’s negligence was the cause of the injuries they sustained. 

A knowledgeable tort attorney will work hard to establish legal liability in your drunk driving case. Skilled legal professionals will fight to prove that the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision, that they were driving negligently, and that their actions caused the relevant harm. 


In most car accident claims, the victim’s financial compensation is obtained from the other driver’s insurance provider. A tort attorney will negotiate forcefully with the opposing party’s insurer on the victim’s behalf.

Do not allow a tightfisted insurance company to deny you a fair settlement for the harm you experienced. Insurance adjusters are often trained to downplay victims’ damages. Make sure to have a seasoned negotiator working for you.

Calculating Damages

Legal professionals will also calculate the full value of your claim. Most victims underestimate the money they are owed in the aftermath of an alcohol-related collision.

Common examples of damages in these cases include:

  • Past and current medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Decreased quality of life

With the help of a Morgan & Morgan attorney, you can pursue maximum financial compensation in your car accident case.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • Will My Claim Go to Court?

    Tort claims involving drunk drivers do not necessarily have to go to court. Often, these claims are resolved through the settlement process.

    A settlement is possible when negotiations between the victim and the opposing party’s insurer are successful. Through a settlement, the claimant agrees to accept a certain amount of compensation in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.

    Negotiations can take place at any time during the legal process. Settlement negotiations are most common in the early stages of the claims process. A successfully negotiated settlement helps both parties avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty of a courtroom trial.

  • What Are Contingency Fees?

    A contingency fee is a type of payment used by attorneys in civil cases. In these cases, the claimant’s payment is contingent on the outcome of the case.

    In other words, a tort attorney receives payment only if they are successful in winning the case or securing a settlement on the victim’s behalf. Typically, the fee is a predetermined percentage of the amount recovered in the claim.

    This type of payment structure is useful for clients who are unable to afford upfront attorneys’ fees. The compassionate professionals at Morgan & Morgan believe all victims deserve justice. 

    When we represent you, you will not pay anything unless we recover the money you deserve.

  • Speak With a Morgan and Morgan Attorney Today

    Drunk driving collisions cause massive amounts of property damage each year nationwide. Many drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are injured annually because of motorists who are driving under the influence of alcohol.

    If you have sustained harm as the result of another driver’s negligent behavior, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The skilled litigators at Morgan & Morgan are ready to fight on your behalf.

    Schedule a free consultation by completing the easy-to-use contact form on our website today. We will not rest until we obtain the financial compensation you are rightfully entitled to. Contact America’s largest injury firm today.

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