Last Updated: 4/27/2023
Statistics show that drunk driving is still a problem in Iowa and across the United States. For example, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation, there were 1,290 drug or alcohol impairment-related crashes in Des Moines between 2004 and 2008. These numbers only show part of a nationwide problem.
How common is drunk driving in Iowa and the United States?
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there were 10,845 driving under the influence arrests in Iowa in 2012, including 134 arrests of minors driving under the influence. The FBI report also indicates there were 987,224 drivers arrested for driving under the influence nationwide in 2012.
While these numbers are staggering, they only scratch the surface of total drunk driving across the country. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report estimated that, in the U.S., adults consumed too much alcohol and drove approximately 112 million times in 2010, which is about 300,000 times per day.
Drunk Driving-related Accident Statistics
Drunk driving is a major cause of fatal accidents. In Iowa, there were 92 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, accounting for 25 percent of all driving fatalities in 2012, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report. Sixty-eight of those accidents involved drivers with a BAC of .15 or higher, accounting for nearly one in five of all fatal accidents in the state. NHTSA reports that nationwide 10,322 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2012, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities.
But even when drunk driving accidents are not fatal, they can cause serious injuries. The 1,290 impaired driving-related crashes in Des Moines from 2004 to 2008, for example, caused 815 injuries, 99 of which were major and 270 of which were minor.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics by Demographics
The NHTSA report also found that in 2012, the highest percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who had a BAC of .08 or higher -- 32 percent – were drivers between the ages of 21 and 24. Next was the 25 to 34 age group at 29 percent, followed by the 35 to 44 age group at 25 percent.
A higher number of men involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher at 7,905 compared to women at 1,588. This accounted for 24 percent of men involved in fatal crashes and 14 percent of women.
And finally, broken down by vehicle type, 27 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents had BACs of .08 or higher, followed by 23 percent of drivers of passenger cars, and 22 percent of drivers of light trucks.
Legal Options for Victims of Drunk Driving
People harmed in an accident involving drunk driving can file a personal injury case against the driver to recover damages. To win this action, plaintiffs need to prove that the other driver was negligent, and the negligence caused the accident and injuries. Negligence generally means failing to provide reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Drunk drivers are almost always negligent in these cases, so talk to your lawyer about evidence of impairment.