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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Drunk Driving: 10 Alarming Facts

Our Driving Concern Program Manager Lisa Robinson has compiled these 10 stats on drunk driving for Texas employers to share with their drivers:

  • 50-75% of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license
  • An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest
  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year-olds (23.4%)
  • Only time will sober a person up; drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help
  • Every two minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving crash
  • Drunk driving costs the U.S. $199 billion a year
  • On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime
  • In 2012, 29.1 million people admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol – that’s more than the population of Texas
  • Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes
  • In 2013, 10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 52 minutes – and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes

New Texas Drunk Driving Law Aimed at Curbing Repeat Offenses

At your next employer safety talk, you might want to reserve some time to talk about the ramifications of a new drunk driving law that went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, if only to reinforce safe driving habits on and off the job.

The law, which requires drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock on their vehicles before hitting the road again, is aimed at curbing repeat drunk driving offenses, according to a KXXV-TV news report. Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocated for this new piece of legislation and MAAD officials let out a collective cheer after Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law.

Colleen Sheehey-Church, national president of MADD, said in the KXXV report, “We are relieved to add Texas to the growing list of states that have taken action to protect residents and visitors from the 100% preventable crime of drunk driving.”

In the state of Texas, there is one DUI-alcohol crash every 20 minutes 37 seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Not surprisingly, Texas led the nation with 1,337 drunk driving deaths in 2013, as indicated on Page 5 of this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

NHTSA reports 40% percent of all traffic deaths in the state of Texas were caused by a drunk driver. And Texas ranked No. 1 in motor vehicle deaths by state in 2013, according to the most recent data in Injury Facts,  a report created by the National Safety Council.

Of the 35,500 motor vehicle deaths nationwide, 3,385 occurred in Texas. California ranked second with 3,211, followed by Florida with 2,374.

How Does the New Texas Drunk Driving Law Work?

  • The law requires the installation of an interlock for first-time offenders with a BAC of .08 or greater if they choose to drive following a DWI arrest during a license suspension
  • The previous law allowed arrested DWI offenders to obtain a non-interlock restricted license following arrest
  • The law allows for drivers arrested for DWI to either apply for an interlock 15 days after arrest or to choose not drive
  • The interlock-restricted license period is at least 90 days for first-time offenders and 180 days for repeat offenders
  • Courts also can order an interlock upon conviction per current law
  • If an individual does not want the ignition interlock device installed, they will be prohibited from gaining the ability of having a license that allows them to drive while under suspension for the DWI, according to

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

  • It is similar to a breathalyzer, according to, however an IID is connected to the vehicle dashboard or other location inside the vehicle and requires that a driver breathe into the device prior to starting the vehicle
  • If the ignition interlock device detects the blood alcohol concentration of the driver to be above the programmed limit in the ignition interlock device, the engine of the vehicle will not work

Crash Course on Dangers of DUI Incidents

Here is a sobering thought: In the state of Texas, there is one DUI-alcohol crash every 20 minutes and 37 seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Why is this important to know now? Because Texas led the nation with 1,337 drunk driving deaths in 2013, as indicated on Page 5 of this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

NHTSA reports 40% percent of all traffic deaths in the state of Texas were caused by a drunk driver. And, Texas ranked No. 1 in fatal on-the-job transportation incidents in 2013, with 213 deaths, according to Injury Facts 2015, an annual statistical report on injuries and deaths created by the National Safety Council.

In general, states with the largest number of people employed have the largest number of work-related fatalities. California was No. 2 in fatal transportation incidents by state, with 133, followed by Florida, with 84.

For employers, it's important to know the cost of these incidents isn't limited to loss of life. There are issues such as insurance, liability, employee absenteeism and productivity to consider. A DWI arrest and conviction in Texas can cost up to $17,000, according to TxDOT.

Who is Most at Risk?

Nationwide, men accounted for 80% of alcohol-impaired driving occurrences, and young men aged 21-34 reported 32% of all alcohol-impaired driving, according to a new report put out by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.  The CDC report says alcohol-impaired driving was three times higher among those who reported not always wearing a seat belt compared with those who reported to being always belted.

What Can be Done?

TxDOT is hosting outreach events and running a series of public service announcements. These printable posters are part of the Drink. Drive. Go to Jail messaging the department launched to create greater public awareness of the risks associated with alcohol-impaired driving. You might want to post them in your company breakroom or talk to your employees about these issues at a staff safety meeting.

The CDC says states and communities could consider increasing the use of effective interventions such as strictly enforcing the 0.08 g/dl BAC laws and minimum legal drinking age laws and increasing alcohol taxes. A new Texas law that went into effect on Sept. 1 requires ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of alcohol-impaired driving.

Impaired Driving

In 2014, there were 1,041 fatalities in Texas due to crashes involving a DUI, according to data highlighted on Page 3 of this Texas Department of Transportation report.

Impaired driving is a serious issue in Texas, and it affects many more than only those involved in drunk driving crashes. The misuse or abuse of alcohol or other substances greatly increases the chance of injuries in the workplace and beyond.

Whether it's referred to as drunk driving, driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, impaired driving simply means a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle while compromised by alcohol and other drugs that change the function of the brain and body.

Nearly 600 fatal crashes involved the use of alcohol, as indicated on Page 12 of this 2014 TxDOT report. More than 230 crashes involved the use of drugs.

Alcohol a Factor in 20% of Work-related Fatalities

Drunk driving is obviously dangerous, but it also can be extremely costly to your business. Alcohol use was cited as a factor in 20% of work-zone related fatal crashes, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Happy hours and other celebrations among colleagues often can result in sad endings, such as serious injury or death.

In Texas, drivers are legally intoxicated and can be arrested and charged with a DWI with a .08 blood alcohol concentration; however, driving ability can be impaired below the legal alcohol limit. Even if a driver registers less than .08 BAC, an arrest still can be made based on the observations of the officer during a roadside sobriety check.   

A person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle also is compromised by illegal drugs, prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medications.

What Employers Can Do

  • Promote Sober Driving: Remind employees that not only is it against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, but sober driving also prevents injuries and deaths
  • Sample Sober Driving Policy: Use or adapt this sample text to create your company’s policy on driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, both on and off the job
  • Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Acknowledge the connection between impaired driving and misuse of alcohol and other drugs, and adopt strategies to encourage employees with problems to seek help through EAPs) and drug-free workplace programs 

Employers also can establish a workplace-based substance abuse prevention program that could include:

  • Confidential screening and counseling
  • Worksite awareness programs
  • Web-based information, referrals to treatment
  • Recovery support for workers in treatment
  • Supervisor training to spot productivity problems 

These programs can result in various benefits for your company, including lower medical costs, reduced turnover and absenteeism and higher employee productivity and morale.

A project of the National Safety Council in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.


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