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Alcohol-Impaired Crash Deaths Declined 2.6% in 2018; Down 10% Over Last Decade (excerpt)

After dropping to an all-time low of 9,865 in 2011, alcohol-impaired crash deaths rose back above 10,000 in 6 of the last 7 years, but dipped by nearly 400, 3.6% in 2018, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Despite flattening in recent years, the 2018 figure of 10,511 alcohol-impaired crash deaths was 10% lower than in 2008, and down about 50% since NHTSA started reporting the data in 1982. Alcohol-impaired crash deaths were over 40% of all highway deaths then, falling to 29-31% for each of the last ten years.  Depending on the measure and time frame you use, progress in reducing alcohol impaired crash deaths has either resumed or stalled.  

Using a different measure shows perhaps more progress.  In 2008, there was 1 alcohol-impaired crash death for every 9.9 mil drinks consumed/purchased in the US.  That’s based on combined shipments of beer, wine and spirits, though not all product shipped is consumed in any given year.  In 2018, that figure was 1 death per 11.9 mil drinks. (In 2005, it was 1 death per 8.1 mil drinks.) So, just as the rate of highway deaths per million miles driven has declined significantly over time, a measure that NHTSA does report, so has the alcohol-impaired death rate per “million drinks sold,” a measure we’ve not seen published elsewhere. ...

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2019
  • Volume: 36
  • Issue #: 11
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