Drowsy Driving

Incidence of Impaired Driving

For one of every 190 miles driven in Indiana in 1998, a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) >.08 sat behind the wheel. Police in Indiana reported 9,508 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 47,800 crashes in Indiana involved alcohol which killed 385 and injured an estimated 15,800 people.

Impaired Driving by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In 1998, Indiana drivers with:

  • BACs of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 45,500 crashes that killed 310 and injured 13,800
  • BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 800 crashes that killed 22 and injured 600
  • Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 1,500 crashes that killed 53 and injured 1,400


Alcohol is a factor in 24% of Indiana's crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes in Indiana cost the public an estimated $2.4 billion in 1998, including $1.1 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 Indiana costs $3.3 million:

  • $1.1 million in monetary costs
  • $2.2 million in quality of life losses

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged $94,000:

  • $46,000 in monetary costs
  • $48,000 in quality of life losses

Costs per Mile Driven

Crash costs in Indiana averaged:

  • $4.40 per mile driven at BACs of .10 and above
  • $1.90 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 Indiana averaged $1.00 per drink consumed. People other than the drinking driver paid $0.60 per drink.

Impact on Auto Insurance Rates

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 17% of Indiana's auto insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10% would save $50 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.

Prevention Savings of Impaired Driving Measures

Indiana already has many important impaired driving laws. They are saving money and lives. The estimates that follow describe the expected costs and savings, given Indiana's prices and impaired driving rates. The estimates assume Indiana's laws achieve average U.S. effectiveness levels.

Administrative License Revocation: Laws that allow police or driver licensing authorities to revoke a driver's license swiftly and automatically for refusing or failing a BAC test have reduced alcohol-related fatalities by 6.5% on average and saved an estimated $48,400 per driver sanctioned. The value of the driver's lost mobility is the large majority of the estimated $2,400 cost per driver sanctioned. Reinstatement fees assessed to offenders typically cover start-up and operating costs.

Zero Tolerance Law: Laws like Indiana's that make it illegal for persons under 21 to drive with a positive BAC have reduced impaired-driving fatalities by 4% on average. Per licensed youth driver, this law costs approximately $30 and yields net savings of $700. Medical care cost savings alone exceed the intervention cost. The primary cost is the value of mobility lost by youth who are forced to reduce their drinking or driving.

.08 BAC Law: A well-publicized State law lowering driver BAC limits to .08 can potentially reduce alcohol-related fatalities by an average of 7%. On average, Indiana's .08 law saves an estimated $37 per licensed driver. The value of mobility losses and alcohol sales reductions resulting from the law are a large portion of the estimated $2.60 cost per licensed driver.

Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA): To reduce alcohol-related fatal crashes among youth, Indiana has adopted a MLDA of 21. It saves an estimated $500 per youthful driver. The loss of liquor sales is the large majority of the $150 cost per youthful driver.

Graduated Licensing: Graduated licensing is a three-stage program that involves a learner's permit, an intermediate (provisional) license, and full licensure. To advance between stages, young drivers are required to demonstrate responsible driving behavior. Graduated licensing with a midnight curfew could reduce youth fatalities by at least 5% and total alcohol-related fatalities by 2%. Savings amount to an estimated $500 per youthful driver in Indiana. The value of the mobility lost by youth is a large portion of the estimated $60 cost per youthful driver.

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