2009 saw traffic fatalities in the United States fall to their lowest recorded levels. Likewise, drunk driving fatalities have fallen to their lowest levels since recording began in 1982 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In its annual State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America 2009 report The Century Council has summarized the latest available data in easy to read graphs tracking more than 20 years worth of data and detailing state-by-state statistics.
Drunk driving fatalities, defined as a fatality involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher, accounted for 32% of all traffic fatalities in 2009. Since The Century Council’s inception in 1991 drunk driving fatalities have declined 32% nationally and even more significantly among persons under 21, decreasing 52%. While much progress has been made hardcore drunk drivers continue to be involved in a disproportionate share of drunk driving fatalities – 72% of drivers killed in alcohol-impaired fatal crashes had a BAC of .15 or higher in 2009 down only slightly from 74% in 1991.
Over the past two decades The Century Council has been a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking – two of society’s top safety concerns – and will continue to develop and distribute award-winning programs, initiatives and research toward meeting this important goal. While even one drunk driving fatality is one too many we estimate The Century Council has contributed to more than 100,000 lives being saved on our nation’s roads over the past two decades. We hope this report will serve as a useful resource in the fight to eliminate drunk driving nationally and in your community.