Impaired Driving

Incidence of Impaired Driving

For one of every 150 miles driven in South Carolina in 2000, a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) >.10 sat behind the wheel. Police in South Carolina reported 4,979 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 29,690 crashes in South Carolina involved alcohol which killed 422 and injured an estimated 9,900 people.

Impaired Driving by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In 2000, South Carolina drivers with:

  • BACs of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 28,200 crashes that killed 329 and injured 8,700
  • BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 490 crashes that killed 27 and injured 400
  • Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 1,000 crashes that killed 66 and injured 800


Alcohol is a factor in 27% of South Carolina’s crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes in South Carolina cost the public an estimated $2.1 billion in 2000, including $0.8 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 $1.2 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill.

Costs per Alcohol-Related Injury

The average alcohol-related fatality in South Carolina costs $3.3 million:

  • $1.0 million in monetary costs
  • $2.3 million in quality of life losses

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged $95,000:

  • $45,000 in monetary costs
  • $50,000 in quality of life losses

Costs per Mile Driven

Crash costs in South Carolina averaged:

  • $5.80 per mile driven at BACs of .10 and above
  • $2.50 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 South Carolina averaged $1.10 per drink consumed. People other than the drinking driver paid $.60 per drink.

Impact on Auto Insurance Rates

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 14% of South Carolina’s auto insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10% would save $43 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.

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