How Many Accidents Are Caused By Drunk Driving? - (2023)

Table of Contents

  • Types of Accidents Caused by Intoxicated Drivers
    • Head-On Collision
    • Rear-End Collision
    • Pedestrian Collision
    • Wrong-Way Collision
  • How Many Accidents Are Caused by Drunk Driving
    • What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
    • Remain at the Scene
    • Get Help Immediately
    • Take Photos of the Crash Scene
    • Information From Witnesses
  • How to Hold a Drunk Driver Responsible
    • Opt for Personal Injury
    • Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
    • Hire a Lawyer to Protect Your Claim
  • Know the Statistics of Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving

Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic.

With a drunk driver involved, it can be even worse. Not only does the drunk driver put themselves in a dangerous situation, but they also put the lives of innocent people on the road at risk as well.

Drinking and driving are when someone operates a vehicle after consuming alcohol. While the blood alcohol level of 0.08 and under is considered safe to drive, getting behind the wheel after any alcohol can lead to deadly consequences.

You might be wondering: how many accidents are caused by drunk driving? Although the statistics have changed over the years, the answer might surprise you.

Keep reading to learn more about drunk driving statistics and what to do if you’ve been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver.

Types of Accidents Caused by Intoxicated Drivers

How Many Accidents Are Caused By Drunk Driving? - (1)

If we look at the percentage of car accidents caused by drunk driving, there are several different ways that an accident can occur.

Alcohol can impair the driver’s judgment, including their reaction time and coordination. This poor decision can lead to deadly consequences. Here are some of the different types of accidents:

(Video) Drunk Driving Accident FAQs

Head-On Collision

A drunk driver can fall asleep at the wheel and veer into oncoming traffic. They are unable to read traffic signs, have less control over their movements, and might be completely blacked out. This can cause a serious head-on collision.

Rear-End Collision

The reaction time of a drunk driver is much slower than that of a sober driver. A drunk driver might also not be able to judge the distance between two vehicles, making it easy to come too close and eventually cause an accident.

Pedestrian Collision

If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they are less likely to notice pedestrians, especially while driving at night. This can cause major injuries and even death to someone innocently walking on the street.

Wrong-Way Collision

A drunk driver may not be able to read the sign and see that they are going the wrong way down a one-way street. They may not even be able to see a turn or exit for a highway and put the other drivers on the road at risk.

How Many Accidents Are Caused by Drunk Driving

How Many Accidents Are Caused By Drunk Driving? - (2)

If you’re wondering how many drunk driving deaths there are each year, the statistics may surprise you.

On average, drunk drivers are responsible for more than 10,000 deaths each year. That’s about 27 deaths per day that are caused by an intoxicated individual getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

According to the CDC, in 2016, the number of alcohol-impaired fatal crashes was 10,497. These accounted for almost 30% of all traffic accident deaths. What’s more, among the 1,233 deaths that involved children under the age of 14, 17% of the cases were related to alcohol impairment.

That same year, over one million drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated, that includes alcohol and narcotics.

Recent drunk driving statistics reveal that these accidents add up to over $44 billion each year when you factor in deaths and damages.

(Video) Car Accident Claim Drunk Driving | Amin Law

However, the number of drunk driving deaths has decreased since the 1980s. Drunk driving deaths have decreased by 52% since 1982. While this is a good sign, there are still far too many needless deaths caused by drunk driving.

What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident

There are several important steps to take if you are involved in a drunk driving accident. Depending on your level of injury, you might not be able to follow through on some of these steps. However, all parties involved in the accident must do the following:

Remain at the Scene

Stopping and remaining at the scene might sound like an obvious first step, but many drunk drivers flee the scene and try to avoid the consequences.

Whether you are walking or inside a vehicle during the accident, you must stop, remain as calm as possible before you act on the situation. You should only move your car if there is potential danger at the scene of the accident.

At this point, you want to check to make sure everyone is okay.

Get Help Immediately

Assessing your injuries and checking to see that everyone is okay is a crucial next step. Ensure that you or someone in the vicinity calls 911 and asks for help from the local police and paramedics.

It is important to know that auto insurance companies require you to notify the police so this will be a vital step for the proceedings after the accident.

Take Photos of the Crash Scene

Taking photographs and videos of the damages is very important in an automobile crash. Particularly if the other driver is intoxicated.

Photos of the vehicle damage will be able to access the speed and impact of the collision. It can also reveal important information about the severity of the injury before going to the hospital, the state of the other driver, and the layout of the road.

All of these help to reconstruct the accident and will help if you need to take the case to trial.

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Information From Witnesses

Lastly, one of the most crucial steps following an accident is identifying the witnesses. You must get their contact information and their retelling of what happened. Witnesses can wander off a crash scene before the police have a chance to arrive so it is important for you to get the information that you need.

How to Hold a Drunk Driver Responsible

Drunk driving accidents can have damaging effects on your physical and mental health.

Not only can a drunk driver cause severe injuries, but mental pain and anguish can also be just as severe. This can leave you unable to work, enjoy physical activity, or even take care of your children.

Additionally, a severe injury can create expensive medical bills on top of emergency care and the inability to work.

If you or someone you love is involved in a drunk driving accident, you deserve compensation.

Opt for Personal Injury

After an accident, the police detain the drunk driver and while they are facing DUI charges and possible jail time, the court does not get compensation for you.

A criminal trial ensures that the drunk driver is punished for their actions but it does not provide the victim with any financial recompense.

Once the criminal trial is over, you will need to file a personal injury claim to get the compensation that you deserve. Even if the drunk driver was not found guilty in the trial, you can still file a claim to show how this driver’s negligence has directly impacted your life and health.

You can provide proof of emotional, physical, and mental harm that the accident has caused, and get paid for those damages.

Seek Compensation for Your Injuries

When seeking compensation for your injuries, it is important to include all of the ways in which the accident affected your life.

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The criminal negligence of a drunk driver’s actions has directly impacted your ability to live a peaceful, active, and comfortable life. This means getting economic and non-economic compensation for the accident.

As previously mentioned, you can do this after the criminal trial is over. Once you have a list of damages, be sure to have a trusted personal injury lawyer look over your list.

While certain damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are easy to calculate, other damages are difficult to put a price on. Time lost with your loved ones, emotional suffering, and mental health deterioration are all important losses that also deserve compensation.

A car accident lawyer can help you understand the extent of damages and create an accurate list to file your claim.

Hire a Lawyer to Protect Your Claim

A drunk driving accident case can take a lot of time, money, and emotional suffering. It is also difficult to handle a delicate legal case on your own.

If you want to protect your claim, get compensation for your injuries, and get the most out of your claim, you want the help of a car accident lawyer.

Know the Statistics of Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving

How Many Accidents Are Caused By Drunk Driving? - (3)

Although the number of drunk driving fatalities has gone down, it is important to know how many accidents are caused by drunk driving each year. Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic and terrifying, especially if the driver is intoxicated. Be sure to understand the steps to take after an accident and how you can get the help you need and the compensation you deserve.

If you found this article helpful, keep coming back to our informative blog for legal advice on car accidents and more!


How many accidents are caused by drunk driving in the US? ›

Drunk Driving Fatalities by State
StateDrunk driving fatalities 2009-2018
48 more rows
Jan 7, 2023

What is the number one cause of accidents? ›

1. Distracted Driving. Undoubtedly, distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. A distracted driver does not have their complete attention on the road, and they may be paying closer attention to a mobile device, passengers, or even a cheeseburger.

How many accidents are caused by drowsy driving? ›

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every year about 100,000 police-reported, drowsy-driving crashes result in nearly 800 fatalities and about 50,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.

What are 1 in 10 fatal accidents are caused by? ›

Nearly 1 in 10 fatal accidents are caused by distracted driving.

What percentage of accidents are caused by drink driving? ›

Number of drink-drive collisions in 2020

This means that around 5% of all reported road traffic collisions in 2020 involved at least one driver or rider over the legal alcohol limit. In 1979, 8% of reported road collisions were drink-drive related.

How many car accidents are caused by alcohol? ›

National Drunk Driving Statistics Map -
2019 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality DataCaliforniaNational
Total Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities94910,142
Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities of Total Fatalities26.328.1
Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities88906
22 more rows

What is one of the top 5 causes of accidents in the US? ›

What Are the Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents?
  • Distracted Driving. Distracted driving occurs when a driver is visually, physically, or mentally diverted from the task of driving. ...
  • Tailgating. Tailgating is the act of driving too closely behind another vehicle. ...
  • Drowsy Driving. ...
  • Speeding. ...
  • Intoxication.
Aug 23, 2022

What are the top 3 causes of car accidents in America? ›

Avoid These Top Causes of Traffic Accidents:
  • DISTRACTED DRIVING. Research at the American Automobile Association's Traffic Safety Division says that between 25-50% of all motor car accidents are caused by distracted driving. ...
  • SPEEDING. ...

How many accidents are caused by sleep deprivation? ›

Each year, nearly 100,000 traffic crashes can be attributed to drowsy driving, including more than 1,500 deaths and over 70,000 injuries, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How many crashes a year are due to distracted driving? ›

According to 2020 NHTSA data, cell phone use or texting while driving was a factor in: 13% of the distracted driving accidents that resulted in fatalities. 9% of distracted driving injury crashes, or about 29,999 accidents in total.

Is drowsy driving the same as drunk driving? ›

However, many drivers do not realize that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving while sleep deprived has similar effects on the body as driving under the influence of alcohol.

What are 80% of accidents caused by? ›

80% of car accidents are caused by a driver being distracted. 2% of distracted driving accidents are the result of eating or drinking.

What are the 5 biggest causes of road accidents? ›

Common Causes of Car Accidents Due to Driver Error
  • Distracted Driving. One of the top causes of car accidents can be blamed on distracted driving. ...
  • Drunk Driving. ...
  • Speeding. ...
  • Running Red Lights and Stop Signs. ...
  • Reckless Driving. ...
  • Aggressive Driving. ...
  • Fatigue. ...
  • Weather Conditions.
Feb 23, 2023

What are the 5 most common accidents? ›

Here are 10 of the most common accidents that can happen in the home and how to deal with them:
  • 1) Falling objects. ...
  • 2) Trips and Falls. ...
  • 3) Bruises. ...
  • 4) Sprains. ...
  • 5) Cuts. ...
  • 6) Burns. ...
  • 7) Choking. ...
  • 8) Poisoning.

What are the statistics around drink driving? ›

Key Drink Driving Statistics:

90% of drink drivers involved in fatal accidents are male. 33% of all drink drivers involved in fatal accidents are aged between 17-24. 30% of all drink driving fatalities occur between 9pm and 3am, Thurs, Fri & Sat nights. 27% of all fatal crashes in rural areas involve drink drivers.

Where do the most drunk driving accidents happen? ›

1. Wyoming. Wyoming leads the nation in drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people, according to the NHTSA.

What state has the most drinking and driving accidents? ›

The Most Dangerous States for Drunk Driving
RankStateDrunk Drivers Involved In Fatal Crashes per 100,000 Drivers
4North Dakota6.90
6 more rows
Nov 18, 2022

How many alcohol related accidents in the US each year? ›

Total Traffic And Alcohol-Impaired Crash Fatalities, 1985-2020 (1)
Alcohol-impaired crash fatalities (1)
YearTotal traffic fatalitiesNumber
13 more rows

How is drunken driving a cause of road accidents? ›

Twenty-nine people are killed every day in the United States due to crashes involving a drunk driver, which is roughly equivalent to one death every 50 minutes. In a single recent year, 10,497 alcohol-related crash deaths accounted for approximately 28 percent of all traffic deaths in the country.

Are most car accidents caused by sober people? ›

There are more accidents involving sober drivers because there are FAR more sober drivers than drunk ones. If a out of a 1,000,000 trips only 1,000 of those is done while intoxicated. And there are 5 accidents, 1 in which a driver was intoxicated.

What are the 6 main causes of accidents? ›

Following are eight of the most common causes of accidents in the workplace:
  • Lifting. ...
  • Fatigue. ...
  • Dehydration. ...
  • Poor Lighting. ...
  • Hazardous Materials. ...
  • Acts of Workplace Violence. ...
  • Trips and Falls. ...
  • Stress.

Who causes the most car accidents? ›

Men cause about 6.1 million accidents per year and women cause 4.4 million accidents per year, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. 105.7 million women have driver's licenses, and 104.3 million men have them, according to the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

What is the biggest cause of car accidents and why? ›

Distracted driving

Being distracted while driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. It can be anything from texting while driving to fiddling with the radio to simply not paying attention to the road ahead.

What is the most common accident? ›

What is the Most Common Type of Accident? Motor vehicle accidents such as car crashes and motorcycle wrecks are among the most common type of personal injury accidents, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths each year.

What are the two main causes of car accidents? ›

There are many things that can cause a car accident. Some are driver-related, such as drunk driving, reckless driving, distracted driving, and road rage. Other causes of car accidents include vehicle-related problems and environmental conditions. However, in many cases the specific cause of a car accident is unknown.

What are 4 types of accidents? ›

The Top Five Classifications of Accidents
  • Accidents at Work. You may be at risk of serious personal injury depending on the type of job you have. ...
  • Car Accidents. This is perhaps the most common of the five classifications of accidents. ...
  • Medical Negligence Accidents. ...
  • Slip (Trip) and Fall Accidents. ...
  • Motorcycle Accidents.

Do sleep deprived people cause more accidents than drunk drivers? ›

In controlled studies where researchers were able to measure the amount of sleep deprivation, drunk and drowsy driving both result in a similar amount of crashes.

Why do I fall asleep driving? ›

Health Issues, Medications, and Alcohol Play a Part, Too

Aside from sleep debt and your circadian dips, other factors also set drowsy driving in motion: Health issues: Sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea and narcolepsy, are closely associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.

What percentage of people sleep badly? ›

What percentage of the population has trouble sleeping? According to the National Institutes of Health, 7% to 19% of adults reportedly do not get enough sleep, 40% reportedly fall asleep during the day at least once a month, and 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.

Who is most likely to drink and drive? ›

NHTSA data also reveals that men are more likely to drive drunk than women. Specifically, men are involved in four times the amount of drunk driving accidents as women, and men account for 80% of all drunk driving fatalities.

What percentage of car crashes are due to cell phones? ›

Even while at a stoplight, this behavior can be dangerous, as drivers need to maintain total focus in order to drive safely. 14% of all fatal car crashes involve the improper use of a cellphone while driving, according to recent reports.

What do you call driving while drunk? ›

Driving while under the influence (DUI) and/or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) are criminal driving offenses in all states.

How long can a person drive without sleep? ›

There is no law that states how many hours a private driver can drive without sleeping. You are required to maintain safe operation of your vehicle. If your lack of sleep was determined to be the cause of an accident, you can be held civilly and criminally liable.

Is driving sick like driving drunk? ›

Driving While Sick is as Dangerous as Driving Drunk

Even if you're not taking medication, research shows driving sick can be as bad as driving drunk. When an illness is making you feel woozy and cloudy-headed, your ability to focus can suffer and your reaction time can slow significantly.

Where do 50% of all accidents occur? ›

More than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.

Which of these could be the cause of 65% of all accidents? ›

According to the NHTSA, 80% of all car accidents and up to 65% of near-miss car accidents are due to distracted driving no more than 5 seconds before the crash. Distracted driving may not seem like an egregious departure from safety but it is the leading cause of car accidents.

Are 90% of car accidents caused by human error? ›

In a section of the NHTSA website about vehicle automation, they say: The safety benefits of automated vehicles are paramount. Automated vehicles' potential to save lives and reduce injuries is rooted in one critical and tragic fact: 94% of serious crashes are due to human error.

What are top 10 accidents in the world? ›

But often, they claim an even higher human price. Britannica examines 10 of the world's worst industrial disasters.
This list was adapted from a post that originally appeared on the Britannica Blog.
  • Bhopal. ...
  • Windscale. ...
  • Monongah. ...
  • Three Mile Island. ...
  • Fukushima. ...
  • Courrières. ...
  • Deepwater Horizon. ...
  • Honkeiko.

What car has the most accidents? ›

The 25 Vehicles That Have Been Involved in the Most Fatal Car Accidents
1Chevrolet Silverado8,777
2Ford F-1507,502
3Honda Accord5,368
4Toyota Camry5,023
21 more rows

How common is drunk driving in the US? ›

Some states are making more progress than others in reducing DUIs
StateDUI Arrests Per 100K (2010)% Change in Arrest Rate
47 more rows

Are most accidents caused by sober drivers? ›

There are more accidents involving sober drivers because there are FAR more sober drivers than drunk ones. If a out of a 1,000,000 trips only 1,000 of those is done while intoxicated. And there are 5 accidents, 1 in which a driver was intoxicated.

What percentage of the US has a drinking problem? ›

Alcoholism Stats

More than 6 percent of adults in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder, about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 25 women. An additional 623,000 people between the ages of 12 and 17 have alcohol use disorders. About 88,000 people die of alcohol-related causes every year in the United States.

What percent of Americans drink alcohol? ›

In 2018, two-thirds (66.3%) of adults aged 18 and over consumed alcohol in the past year. Among adults aged 18 and over, 5.1% engaged in heavy drinking (consumption of an average of more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week for men or more than 7 drinks per week for women in the past year).

What age is drunk driving most? ›

The 21- to 24-year-old age group has the most drunk driving accidents in the United States, according to recent research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What state is known for drunk driving? ›

North Dakota was the state with the most DUIs, trailed by South Dakota and Wyoming. The four most dangerous states (Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Idaho) for drunk driving share the same geographic region.

Which states have the most drunks? ›

Unsurprisingly, the most densely populated states in the U.S. consume the most alcohol by volume. California leads the pack with 85.7 million gallons consumed in 2020. Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois round out the remainder of the top five. Conversely, Wyoming, Alaska, and South Dakota consume the least.

What is the drunkest state in America? ›

  • This state's largest city is called “Brew City” for a reason.
  • A new nationwide data analysis has found that Wisconsin is the drunkest state in America.
  • Data showed that 82 percent of the top 50 drunkest counties in the United States were located in Wisconsin, as well as the drunkest county in all of the U.S.
Nov 5, 2021

What state has the least drunk drivers? ›

New Jersey had the fewest alcohol-impaired driving fatalities with a rate of 1.4 per 100k people. Minnesota and New York tied for second on this metric with a rate 1.5 and Utah placed third with 1.7.

What state has the safest drivers? ›

Safest States for Drivers Ranking
RankingStateSafest State for Drivers Score
1New Jersey9.15
6 more rows
Nov 16, 2022

Do more people crash sober or drunk? ›

A drunk driver who has BAC of 0.10 – 0.14 is forty-eight times more likely to get into an accident compared to a normal sober driver. A drunk driver who has BAC of 0.05 to 0.09 is eleven times more likely to get into an accident compared to a normal sober driver.

Is alcohol the main cause of car accidents? ›

Alcohol is a leading cause of traffic fatalities. Drinking and driving kills 28 people a day in the U.S. — about one person every 52 minutes — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What kind of drivers cause the most accidents? ›

RankDriver contributing factors% of drivers who contributed to fatal accidents
2Alcohol involvement17.2%
3Improper lane usage15.2%
4Failure to yield right-of-way15.2%
1 more row
Aug 21, 2019


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