Impaired Driving

Incidence of Impaired Driving

For one of every 120 miles driven in Wisconsin in 2000, a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) >.10 sat behind the wheel. Police in Wisconsin reported 9,096 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 51,140 crashes in Wisconsin involved alcohol which killed 345 and injured an estimated 17,100 people.

Impaired Driving by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In 2000, Wisconsin drivers with:

  • BACs of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 48,700 crashes that killed 288 and injured 14,900
  • BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 840 crashes that killed 17 and injured 700
  • Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 1,600 crashes that killed 40 and injured 1,500


Alcohol is a factor in 29% of Wisconsin’s crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin 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 $1.6 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill.

Costs per Alcohol-Related Injury

The average alcohol-related fatality in Wisconsin costs $3.4 million:

  • $1.1 million in monetary costs
  • $2.3 million in quality of life losses

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged 98,000:

  • $48,000 in monetary costs
  • $50,000 in quality of life losses

Costs per Mile Driven

Crash costs in Wisconsin averaged:

  • $5.70 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 Wisconsin averaged $0.90 per drink consumed. People other than the drinking driver paid $0.50 per drink.

Impact on Auto Insurance Rates

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 19% of Wisconsin’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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