Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults - United States, 2012

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Aug 7;64(30):814-7. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6430a2.


Alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for approximately one third of all crash fatalities in the United States. In 2013, 10,076 persons died in crashes in which at least one driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) ≥0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL), the legal limit for adult drivers in the United States. To estimate the prevalence, number of episodes, and annual rate of alcohol-impaired driving, CDC analyzed self-reported data from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. An estimated 4.2 million adults reported at least one alcohol-impaired driving episode in the preceding 30 days, resulting in an estimated 121 million episodes and a national rate of 505 episodes per 1,000 population annually. Alcohol-impaired driving rates varied by more than fourfold among states, and were highest in the Midwest U.S. Census region. Men accounted for 80% of episodes, with young men aged 21-34 years accounting for 32% of all episodes. Additionally, 85% of alcohol-impaired driving episodes were reported by persons who also reported binge drinking, and the 4% of the adult population who reported binge drinking at least four times per month accounted for 61% of all alcohol-impaired driving episodes. Effective strategies to reduce alcohol-impaired driving include publicized sobriety checkpoints, enforcement of 0.08 g/dL BAC laws, requiring alcohol ignition interlocks for everyone convicted of driving while intoxicated, and increasing alcohol taxes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult