Impaired Driving

Incidence of Impaired Driving

For one of every 150 miles driven in Vermont in 1999, a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC)>.08 sat behind the wheel. Police in Vermont reported 353 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 2,620 crashes in Vermont involved alcohol which killed 34 and injured an estimated 940 people.

Impaired Driving by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In 1999, Vermont drivers with:

  • BACs of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 2,500 crashes that killed 25 and injured 800
  • BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 40 crashes that killed 3 and injured 40
  • Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 80 crashes that killed 6 and injured 100


Alcohol is a factor in 33% of Vermont’s crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes in Vermont cost the public an estimated $0.2 billion in 1999, including $0.1 billion in monetary costs and almost $0.1 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 $0.1 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill.

Costs per Alcohol-Related Injury

The average alcohol-related fatality in Vermont costs $3.6 million:

  • $1.1 million in monetary costs
  • $2.5 million in quality of life losses

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged 103,000:

  • $49,000 in monetary costs
  • $54,000 in quality of life losses

Costs per Mile Driven

Crash costs in Vermont averaged:

  • $3.80 per mile driven at BACs of .10 and above
  • $1.60 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 Vermont averaged $0.70 per drink consumed. People other than the drinking driver paid $0.40 per drink.

Impact on Auto Insurance Rates

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 14% of Vermont’s auto insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10% would save $6 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.

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