Impaired Driving ImageSpecial Feature: Impaired Driving

The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities has been significantly reduced over the past decade, but impaired driving continues to be a serious public health concern and a threat to public safety.

In 2013, one-third of all traffic-related deaths were people killed in an alcohol-impaired driving crash.

More than 10,000 people were killed in these crashes, meaning that nearly 28 people died every day in motor vehicle accidents that involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

Just like driving after drinking alcohol, the use of illegal drugs or misuse of prescription drugs can make operating a motor vehicle unsafe. Even small amounts of some drugs can have a measurable effect.

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 9.9 million people aged 12 or older—that’s about 3.8 percent of teens and adults—reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the year prior to being surveyed.

A driver commits the crime of impaired driving whenever his or her ability to safely operate a vehicle is impaired by the effects of illegal drugs, prescription medications, or over-the counter medications or by having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

The effects of impaired driving crashes can devastate survivors and their families for years or a lifetime. These negative effects may include emotional swings, guilt, nightmares or flashbacks, and depression.

To learn more about the impact of driving while under the influence and to learn what is being done to prevent impaired driving, select an option from the box to the right under the “Impaired Driving” heading.