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Alcohol Involvement in Fatal Motor-Vehicle Crashes -- United States, 1995-1996

The table (Table_1) and figure (Figure_1) on page 1155 compare alcohol involvement in fatal motor-vehicle crashes for 1995 and 1996. A fatal crash is considered alcohol-related by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) if either a driver or nonoccupant (e.g., pedestrian) had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than or equal to 0.01 g/dL in a police-reported traffic crash. Because BACs are not available for all persons in fatal crashes, NHTSA estimates the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities based on a discriminant analysis of information from all cases for which driver or nonoccupant BAC data are available (1).

Overall, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities decreased by less than 1% from 1995 to 1996; for BACs of 0.01-0.09 g/dL, the decrease was 0.5%, for BACs greater than or equal to 0.10 g/dL (the legal limit of intoxication for adults in most states), the decrease was 1.0%. A notable increase (9.8%) occurred among those aged 15-20 years where a driver or nonoccupant had a BAC greater than or equal to 0.10 g/dL.


  1. Klein TM. A method of estimating posterior BAC distributions for persons involved in fatal traffic accidents: final report. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1986; report no. DOT-HS-807-094.

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Changes in the estimated number and percentage of traffic fatalities
(including drivers, occupants, and nonoccupants), by age group * and
highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC)+ of driver & or nonoccupant
in crashes -- United States, January 1 - December 31, 1995, compared
with January 1 - December 31, 1996
                                No. fatalities
Age group (yrs)                 1995            1996
  <15 @                         2,203           2,193
15-20                           4,013           4,004
21-24                           1,845           1,766
25-34                           3,252           3,192
35-64                           7,293           7,619
 >=65                           5,923           5,945
Total **                       24,529          24,721

  <15 @                           211             193
15-20                             739             698
21-24                             526             530
25-34                             797             782
35-64                           1,103           1,134
 >=65                             364             384
Total **                        3,739           3,721

  <15 @                           384             374
15-20                           1,473           1,617
21-24                           1,894           1,816
25-34                           3,869           3,636
35-64                           5,132           5,144
 >=65                             712             749
Total **                       13,464          13,336
*  Age was unknown for 84 traffic fatalities in 1995 and 130 traffic
   fatalities in 1996.
+  BAC distributions are estimates for drivers and nonoccupants
   involved in fatal crashes. Fatalities include all occupants and
   nonoccupants who died within 30 days of a motor vehicle crash
   on a public roadway and whose age was known.
&  Driver may or may not have been killed.
@  Although usually too young to drive legally, persons in this age
   group are included for completeness.
** The number of fatalities for each BAC category is rounded to the
   nearest whole number.

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