Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk Driving accidents claim lives at the rate of one every 39 minutes in the United States, based on the most recent data available (13,470 deaths in 2006 in crashes caused by DUI drivers with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent). A quick review of some additional drunk driving facts for the United States (also from 2006) shows that all drivers are at risk when drunk drivers are on the road.

Table 1: BAC Limits for Categories of Drivers

Country

BAC Limit

Date Enacted

BAC for Younger Drivers

BAC for Others

Australia

.05

See State detail

See State detail

See State detail

Australian Capitol Territory

Since January 1, 1991

.02 for learners, provisional licenses; for new drivers under the age of 25; for the first 3 years of driving.

.02 for drivers of vehicles over 15 GVMt plus dangerous goods. .02 for drivers of licensed public vehicles

New South Wales

.05 since December 17, 1982; .02 for learner since April 2, 1985, .02 for younger drivers, passenger or heavy vehicles since January 1, 1991

.02 for learners, provisional licenses (since 4/2/85); .02 for new drivers under the age of 25; for the first 3 years of driving (since 1/1/91)

.02 for drivers of heavy vehicles > 13.9GVMt and dangerous or radioactive goods vehicles, buses, taxi cabs, hire cars (passenger vehicles >13.9t)

Northern Territory

.05 passed in 1992, implemented in 1994; .00 for new drivers in 1985; .00 for certain vehicles passed in 1992, but commencement pending

.00 (.02 tolerance) for unlicensed, learner and provisional license drivers (1985)

.02 for drivers of vehicles >15GVMt + dangerous goods; of buses with more than 12 seats and vehicles with passengers in load space.

Queensland

.05 since December 20, 1982. .00 for young drivers and drivers of buses or heavy vehicles since January 1, 1991

.00 (.02 tolerance) for drivers under 21.

.02 tolerance for drivers of vehicles > 4.5GVMt, and for drivers of buses.

South Australia

.05 since July 1, 1992. .02 for young drivers and drivers of certain vehicles since June 1, 1992

.02 for drivers up to 19 years.

.02 for drivers of vehicles > 15 GVMt; drivers of buses with more than 12 seats, taxis, and hire cars

Tasmania

.05 since January 6, 1983; .00 for new drivers and drivers of certain vehicles since May 1992

.00 (.02 tolerance) for 3 years for new drivers and those not holding a license for 12 months.

.00 (.02 tolerance) for drivers of vehicles >4.5+ >7.5 combination; for buses with more than 12 seats and licensed public vehicles.

Victoria

.05 since June 1976. .00 (.02 tolerance) for new drivers and drivers of heavy or passenger vehicles since January 1, 1992.

.00 (.02 tolerance) for 1st year probationary and unlicensed drivers. Zero limit extended for first three years of license. (8/2/90)

..02 tolerance for drivers of vehicles >15GVMt, and drivers of buses with 12 or more passengers.

Western Australia

.05 since September 1988; .02 for probationary drivers since August 1982.

.02 for probationary drivers for 12 months

Legislation proposed but not yet passed: .02 BAC limit for drivers of vehicles >15 and for drivers of buses with more than 8 seats, taxis, hire cars

Austria

.05 or 0.25 mg/l in breath

Since January 1, 1998 (BAC for novice drivers since 1992)

0.01 or .05 mg/l in breath for novice drivers during a 2-year probation period and for riders of motorcycles and other vehicles age 20 or less

0.01 or .05 mg/l in breath for drivers of vehicles over 7.5 tons or buses.

Belgium

.05 or 0.22 mg/liter of breath

Since December 1, 1994

No difference.

No difference.

Brazil

.08

Not available

Not available

Not available

Canada

.08

1969

See details by Province.

See details by Province.

Alberta

 

No difference.

No difference.

British Columbia

 

No difference, but under review.

No difference.

Manitoba

 

No difference, but under review.

No difference.

New Brunswick

 

For new drivers, the BAC limit is .00 for a minimum of 27 months.

No difference.

Newfoundland

.05 regulations that suspend driving priviledges at lower levels of alcohol than the Federal laws.

No difference.

No difference.

Northwest Territories

 

No difference.

No difference.

Nova Scotia

 

For new drivers, the BAC limit is .00 for a minimum of 27 months.

No difference.

Ontario

 

All new drivers are subject to a BAC limit of .00 for 20 months. Penalty is a 30 day suspension and $90 fine.

No difference.

Prince Edward Island

 

For drivers under age 19, BAC limit is .01.

No difference.

Quebec

 

For new drivers, .00 BAC for the first 24 months. Penalty is an immediate suspension of 15 days and 3 months suspension upon conviction.

No difference.

Saskatchewan

 

BAC limit of .04.

No difference.

Yukon

 

No difference.

No difference.

Czech Republic

.00

Not available

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

Denmark

.05

Since March 1, 1998. Denmark plans to evaluate the new legal limit next year.

No difference.

No difference.

Finland

There are two limits: .05 or 0.25 mg/l for breath; 0.12 or 0.6 mg/l for breath for severe drunken driving

Since 1994

No difference.

No difference.

France

.05 for a simple offense; .08 is a penal offense

Since September, 1995

No difference.

No difference.

Germany

.05, 0.11 for criminal offense

.08 since 1973; .05 and 1.10 for criminal offense since April 1998

No difference.

No difference.

Greece

.05

Not available

Not available

Not available

Ireland

.08

Not available

Not available

Not available

Italy

.08

Since 1988

No difference.

No difference.

Japan

.00 in practive

Since 1970

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

Luxembourg

.08

Since 1972

No difference.

No difference.

Netherlands

.05 BAC or 220 mg/l BrAC

Since 1994

No difference.

No difference.

New Zealand

.08 for drivers 20 or older (80 mg alcohol per 100 mls blood or 400 micrograms alcohol/litre breath)

.08 limit introduced in 1978; legal breath alcohol limit of 400 mgs/litre in 1988; lower limits for under 20 in 1992

.03 percent for drivers aged less than 20 (30 mg alcohol/100 mls blood or 150 micrograms alcohol/litre breath)

No difference.

Norway

.05

The Norwegian government plans to propose an amendment to the Road Traffic Act to lower the BAC limit to .02 with an equivalent limit in breath.

Not available

Not available

Portugal

.05

Since January 3, 1998

Not available

Not available

Russia

.02

Not available

Not available

Not available

Spain

.08 (will be .05 as of May 6, 1999)

New legislation will be in force on May 6, 1999

No difference

.05 for vehicles over 3,500; .03 for passenger vehicles (will be .03 for both as of May 6, 1999).

Sweden

.02 for drunken driving and 0.10 for gross drunken driving

A BAC level of .08 was established in 1941. The limit was lowered to .05 in 1957, and to .02 in 1990.

No difference.

No difference.

Switzerland

.08

Not available

Not available

Not available

United Kingdom

.08; Breath alcohol limit 35 microgrammes/100 ml (0.35 male); urine alcohol limits 107 mg/100 ml (1.07 g/e)

Since 1967. The UK Government is currently considering lowering the BAC limit to .05.

No difference.

No difference.

United States

.08 in 17 States

.10 in 33 States

Varies from State to State

.00 to .02 in all States

.04 for commercial driving license (Any alcohol is grounds for removal from service for 24 hours.)



 


Alcohol-related deaths in the US since 1982:

 
Total fatalities
Alcohol-related
fatalities

Year
Number
Number
Percent
1982
43,945
26,173
60
1983
42,589
24,635
58
1984
44,257
24,762
56
1985
43,825
23,167
53
1986
46,087
25,017
54
1987
46,390
24,094
52
1988
47,087
23,833
51
1989
45,582
22,424
49
1990
44,599
22,587
51
1991
41,508
20,159
49
1992
39,250
18,290
47
1993
40,150
17,908
45
1994
40,716
17,308
43
1995
41,817
17,732
42
1996
42,065
17,749
42
1997
42,013
16,711
40
1998
41,501
16,673
40
1999
41,717
16,572
40
2000
41,945
17,380
41
2001
42,196
17,400
41
2002
43,005
17,524
41
2003
42,643
17,013
40
2004
42,518
16,919
39
2005
43,443
16,885
39
2006
42,532
15,829
37
2007
41,059
15,387
37
2008
37,261
13,846
37












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