Impaired Driving


Incidence of Impaired Driving

For one of every 210 miles driven in Alabama in 2000, a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) >.08 sat behind the wheel. Police in Alabama reported 7,351 crashes involving a driver or pedestrian with a BAC of .01 or more. Formulas developed by NHTSA were used to estimate the number of alcohol-related crashes where alcohol involvement was not reported by the police. An estimated total of 36,800 crashes in Alabama involved alcohol. These crashes killed 399 and injured an estimated 12,500 people.

Impaired Driving by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In 2000, Alabama drivers with:

  • BACs of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 35,000 crashes that killed 326 and injured 10,900
  • BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 600 crashes that killed 21 and injured 500
  • Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 1,200 crashes that killed 52 and injured 1,100


Alcohol is a factor in 36% of Alabama’s crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes in Alabama cost the public an estimated $2.5 billion in 2000, including $1.2 billion in monetary costs and almost $1.3 billion in quality of life losses. (For definitions of the cost categories, see the definitions fact sheet.) Alcohol-related crashes are deadlier and more serious than other crashes. People other than the drinking driver paid $1.5 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill.

Costs per Alcohol-Related Injury

The average alcohol-related fatality in Alabama costs $3.0 million:

  • $0.8 million in monetary costs
  • $2.2 million in quality of life losses

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged $91,000:

  • $43,000 in monetary costs
  • $48,000 in quality of life losses

Costs per Mile Driven

Crash costs in Alabama averaged:

  • $6.80 per mile driven at BACs of .10 and above
  • $2.90 per mile driven at BACs between .08-.09
  • $0.10 per mile driven at BACs of .00

Costs per Drink

The societal costs of alcohol-related crashes in Alabama averaged $1.50 per drink consumed. People other than the drinking driver paid $0.90 per drink.

Impact on Auto Insurance Rates

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 19% of Alabama’s auto insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10% would save $52 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.

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