Drinking and Driving

Driving while either intoxicated or drunk is dangerous and drivers with high blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) are at greatly increased risk of car accidents, highway injuries and vehicular deaths. Possible prevention measures examined here include establishing DWI courts, suspending or revoking driver licenses, impounding or confiscating vehicle plates, impounding  or immobilizing vehicles, enforcing open container bans, increasing penalties such as fines or jail for drunk driving, and mandating alcohol education. Safety seat belts, air bags, designated drivers, and effective practical ways to stay sober are also discussed.

Drunk Driving Fatalities Drop Significantly to Historic Lows

Drunk driving fatalities in the U.S. recently dropped to historic lows and have declined 41% in ten years.

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DUI Courts Effective in Reducing Recidivism

Three DUI courts in three Georgia coiunties were found effective in sighificantly reducing recidivism of DUI offenders, consistent with other research on DUI and DWI courts.

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Drugged Driving Dangerous

The dangers of drunk driving are well known. The dangers of distracted driving, such as talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, are increasingly recognized.

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Canada's Drunk and Impaired Driving Laws

The Canadian Criminal Code includes measures to prohibit and punish impaired driving. The Criminal Code also prescribes the procedures to be followed to obtain the evidence necessary for prosecution of these offences.

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Alcohol-Impaired Driving Continues to Drop

Alcohol-impaired driving, sometimes called drunk driving, continues to drop in the United States, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is totally preventable. Although the proportion of crashes that are alcohol-related has dropped dramatically in recent decades, there are still far too many such preventable accidents. Unfortunately, in spite of great progress, alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious national problem that tragically effects many victims annually.

It's easy to forget that dry statistics represent real people and real lives. Therefore, this page is dedicated to the memory of one randomly-selected victim of a drunk driver, young Holli Crockett.


Most drivers who have had something to drink have low blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) and few are involved in fatal crashes. On the other hand, while only a few drivers have BACs higher than .15, a much higher proportion of those drivers have fatal crashes.


Drunk driving, like most other social problems, resists simple solutions. However, there are a number of actions, each of which can contribute toward a reduction of the problem:

Intoxicated handwriting graphic

MADD Canada is to be commended for recognizing this serious but generally unrecognized problem and including the reduction of drugged driving as a major goal. Of course, fighting drugged driving must not detract us from working to reduce drunken driving.

Promising but inadequately evaluated measures include:

All of these very promising measures should be rigorously evaluated scientifically to determine their potential contribution to improving safety.

Measures of little or no value:

Improved roads and vehicles can contribute significantly to increased highway safety. Technological improvements include raised lane markers, which are easier to see and also emit a startling sound when a tire wanders over them. Similarly corrugations along the edges of roads emit a sound when driven over, thus alerting inattentive drivers to their inappropriate location. Wider roads, improved street and highway lighting, break-away sign posts, brake lights positioned at eye level, door crash bars, and many other improvements can save lives and be cost-effective.


While society has done much to improve highway safety, you can do much to protect yourself.

Don't drink and drive and don't ride with anyone who has too much to drink. Remember, it is usually themselves and their passengers who are harmed by drunk drivers. 27 The risk of collision for high BAC drivers is dramatically higher than for a non-drinking driver.

If you must drive after drinking, stay completely sober: 30


Be a good host:

Alcoho-Related Traffic Fatalities graphsTHE GOOD NEWS

We can do it! While we must do even more to reduce drunk driving, we have already accomplished a great deal.

We can and must do even better

Remember, don't ever, ever drive if you, or anyone else, thinks that you may have had too much to drink. And don't let anyone else. That includes reporting drivers who may be drunk. It's always safest not to drink and drive.


NOTE: The "Drink Safely" (thumb up) designs is a registered trademark of Coors Brewing Company and used with its permission.

References and Readings

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving

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