While alcohol-impaired driving fatalities have fallen significantly in the last three decades, NHTSA reports that alcohol-impaired driving still comprises a large percentage of traffic injuries and fatalities. On average in 2019, one person died from an alcohol-impaired driving crash every 52 minutes. There was a decrease in the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities and rate per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) in the United States between 2018 and 2019.
Historically, road safety efforts focused on changing human behaviors to prevent crashes. The Safe System approach reframes efforts to save lives by expecting crashes to happen and focusing attention on reducing the severity of injuries when a crash occurs. By understanding the nuances of alcohol-impaired crashes, transportation professionals can better address every aspect of crash risks and implement multiple layers of protection to ensure that everyone traveling on California roadways will go safely. Analyses from FARS crashes with a driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater. Analyses from SWITRS refer to alcohol involvement and include fatalities and serious injuries where law enforcement reported a driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist to have been drinking.