Serious Solutions to Serious Problems

Drunk Driving Statistics from MADD: 


  • Each day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times, but only about 3200 are arrested.

  • Over 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol.

  • In 2013, 9.9 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year.

  • Almost half of all drivers who were killed in crashes and tested positive for drugs also had alcohol in their system.

  • About one third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.

  • Over 1.1 million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

  • In 2014, three times as many males were arrested for drunk driving as females. (401,904 vs 130,480).

  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 26 to 29-year-olds (20.7 percent).

  • In fatal crashes in 2014, the highest percentage of drunk drivers was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (30 percent), followed by ages 25 to 34 (29 percent) and 35 to 44 (24 percent).

  • The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour.

  • A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which contain the same amount of alcohol.

  • Impairment is not determined by the type of drink, but rather by the amount of alcohol drunk over time.

  • In 2013, a total of 1,149 children 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those 1,149 fatalities, 200 (17%) occurred in alcohol impaired driving crashes. Out of those 200 deaths, 121 (61%) were occupants of vehicles with drivers who had BACS of .08 or higher, and another 29 children (15%) were pedestrians or pedal cyclists struck by drivers with BACS of .08 or higher.

  • In 2014, 16 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were drunk, compared to 29 percent on weekends.

  • Drunk driving involvement in fatal crashes in 2014 was almost four times higher at night than during the day (34 percent vs 9 percent).

  • Adults drank too much and drove about 121 millions times a year – over 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving per day.

  • In the United States, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980.

  • Every day in the U.S. another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.

  • Drunk driving costs the U.S. $132 Billion per year.

  • In 2013, 28.7 million people admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol- that is more than the population of Texas.

  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year – that is more than all illegal drugs combined.

  • Since 1980, MADD has saved 300,000 lives …and counting.

  • Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising, or taking a cold shower will not help.

  • About one in seven teens binge drinks, yet only 1 in 100 parents believe his or her teenager binge drinks.

  • 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.

  • MADD compassionately serves a victim every 15 minutes.

  • On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.

  • In 2014, 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes: one every 53 minutes. And 290,000 people were injured in drunk driving crashes.

  • Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol related crash.

  • An average drunk driver has driven drunk more than 80 times before their first arrest.

  • More than 25 percent of 8th graders have tried alcohol.

  • MADD has helped save nearly 30,000 young lives through passage of the 21 minimum drinking age law.

  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about 25 percent of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver.

  • High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school.

  • Drunk driving costs each adult in the U.S. more than $500 per year.

  • Every two minutes a person is inured in a drunk driving crash.



It need not be said drunk driving is a very serious crime. The statistics above state that very clearly. The one statistic that is jaw dropping is:

An average drunk driver has driven drunk more than 80 times before their first arrest.

Many convicted drunk drivers are convicted many times, because judges are much too lenient with sentencing. This gives the convicted drunk drivers another chance to kill someone the next time they drive drunk.

It is imperative the penalties for drunk driving be made stiffer. If the punishment is stiff enough, perhaps people will finally say, “It just isn’t worth it to drive drunk.”

Here are my suggestions on how to stiffen the penalties, and being that people are killed every year by drunk drivers, I offer no mercy. Neither would you if someone you loved was killed by a drunk driver.

When a driver enters an establishment where alcohol is consumed, they must turn over their car keys to an employee whose job it is to keep the keys safe and easily identifiable. To wit: when a driver hands over his/her keys, they get a ticket stub with a number and a corresponding number is attached to the keys.

When the driver leaves the establishment, they must take a breathalyzer test. If they pass the test their keys are returned. If they fail the test, a taxi or other service is summoned to take them home, and their keys are handed to the service driver with instructions to not return the keys to their passenger until he/she arrives home.

If a customer refuses to turn their keys in when they enter the establishment, they are not allowed to consume alcohol.


If convicted of drunk driving, the driver loses their drivers license for one year and must spend 30 days in jail. If they are caught driving again with a suspended license, the penalty is automatically one year in a state jail.

  1. If during the first offense there is property damage, the penalty is 6 months in jail
  2. If during the first offense someone is injured, the penalty is automatically 2 years in prison.
  3. If during the first offense someone is killed, the penalty is 15 years in prison, no parole.


If a convicted drunk driver is convicted a second time, the penalties are:

  • Loss of drivers license for 5 years and 6 months in jail.
  • If someone is injured, 5 years in prison.
  • If someone is killed, 25 years in prison. No parole.

If a convicted drunk driver is convicted a third time, the penalties are:

  • Permanent loss of drivers license.
  • If someone is injured, 20 years in prison.
  • If someone is killed, life in prison, no parole.

You may think these are very harsh, but not as harsh as relatives losing their loved ones to a drunk driver, especially to a drunk driver who has been convicted more than once.

We must make it very clear to everyone who drives:

We won’t tolerate driving drunk and murdering others with their vehicles.

Lobby your Representatives and demand harsher laws and penalties for drunk drivers. Over time, perhaps the number of drunk drivers will be reduced as well as the number of people killed by drunk drivers.


About thomlucci

Disabled Veteran from Vietnam era, 2nd generation Italian-American, conservative, born in PA, raised mostly in Europe. Graduated from high school in France in 1966. Former print journalist, professional photographer. Love animals: dogs, cats, horses, mostly. Current Opinions of News is a blog where I vent my frustrations with Democrats, crime, social issues, and so on.
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