Targeted Enforcement Will Stop Many Remaining Drunk Drivers

Although drinking and driving by the average consumer continues to decline, there remains a small segment of society which seems less affected by education and awareness efforts and which accounts for a disproportionately large part of alcohol-related fatalities. A recent study indicates that the vast majority of drunk driving fatalities are caused by so called "hard core" drunk drivers who are very resistant to change and who drive at extremely high levels of intoxication.

Using U.S. government data, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation found that high-Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) drivers tend to be problem drinkers, and they are more likely than other drivers to have a history of drunk-driving convictions and driver's license suspensions related to drunk-driving. Seventy-eight (78) percent of drunk drivers killed in 1988 consumed large amounts of alcohol -- the equivalent of seven or eight drinks in an hour for a 160-pound person, reaching blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of .15 percent or above. In addition, the study found that:

While the legal limit in most states is .10 percent, half of all drunk drivers killed had a BAC of .20 percent or above - twice the legal limit.

Nearly 8,500 high BAC drivers are killed on our nation's roads each year. This is nearly one-third of all drivers, drinking or non-drinking, killed in the U.S.

High-BAC drivers make up only 1 percent of drivers on the road on weekend nights, but they constitute half of all drivers killed. They are more than 200 times likely to be involved in a fatal crash than non-drinking drivers.