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6 Surprising Facts About DUI in the United States

DUI and DWI arrests and convictions have decreased tremendously across the United States since the 1980s. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, arrests and convictions have decreased over 80%. This represents the progress made in creating safer roads and highways. The reduction in drunk and impaired driving is a result of concerted efforts by local and state law enforcement officials, as well as third-party advocate groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The American population has a heightened awareness regarding drunk and impaired driving that was not as prevalent 20-30 years ago. Statistics are showing positive trends, but there is still work to be done. There are some surprising facts about the state of DUI in the US that prove we may have a long way to go.


  1. Costs To Taxpayers and to the Nation – in 2014, costs related to DUI/DWI charges across the country amounted to $199 billion. This costs every taxpayer approximately $800 a year. DUI/DWI doesn’t just cost the person committing the crime – the costs are much more far-reaching than that and affect the population of the United States indirectly on a daily basis.
  2. Males vs. Females – according to statistics released in 2011, males had a higher tendency to drive drunk or impaired than females. Males came in at 15.1% of all cases, while females came in at 7.9%, almost half of that of males. Many different conclusions could be drawn by these statistics, but the numbers are undeniable: men are driving with impaired ability much more often than women are.
  3. It is Going Undetected – someone who drives drunk or impaired regularly will operate a motor vehicle an average of 80 times before they are actually caught in the United States. There are many reasons for this, including dumb luck for those driving, lack of funding from local and state municipalities for law enforcement patrols, and increased patrols at night or during the weekends. Police DUI/DWI checkpoints may or may not yield results through catching impaired drivers, depending on where and when they are set up.
  4. One in Three Rule – according to statistics one in three Americans will be involved in some type of alcohol- or drug-related motor vehicle accident over their lifetime. That is basically one-third of the entire U.S. population.
  5. Tougher Sentencing – many states are imposing mandatory DUI/DWI and impaired-driving laws as a preventative measure against drunk and impaired driving. In all 50 states there is a zero-tolerance law for anyone under the age of 21 who is caught driving under the influence. Statutory sentencing is strict for those who are below the legal age limit. Law enforcement is cracking down nationwide on underage drinking. In addition, states have strict penalties for repeat offenders. Some states mandate automatic jail time for anyone who has has been convicted of 2 or more DUI/DWI charges within 10 years. Jail time can start at 4 years for the second DUI or DWI offense.
  6. National Campaigns – the influence of campaigns from groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and other groups have contributed to raising awareness about the effects of Baltimore DUI on families that lose their children in drunk-driving accidents. According to some statistics from MADD, 28 people are killed every day in the United States by a drunk driver, and there are 300,000 instances of drunk driving that occur on US roads every single day.


The roads in the US are much safer today than they were just a few decades ago, and instances of drunk and impaired driving continue to decline across the nation. However, the facts are alarming and drunk driving is still causing negative effects for the American people on a daily basis.


For families that have lost a loved one due to drunk-driving incidents, even a small amount of forward progress will never fill the void left by their loss. Preventative measures can only do so much, and third-party groups that advocate for awareness and stricter law enforcement rules and regulations face their own challenges. As we move into 2017 and beyond, we can hope for less danger on our roadways.