This study compares motor vehicle crash death rates (by three rate types) in the United States (U.S.) with 28 other high-income countries in 2015 and 2019. The U.S. fared worse than most other high-income countries on most metrics. Among other public health actions, the report highlights how 26 of the 29 countries in the study have blood alcohol concentration (BAC) laws set at ≤0.05 grams per deciliter (g/dL). These laws are effective for reducing crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers and deaths from these crashes. In contrast, 49 U.S. states and D.C. have a BAC limit of 0.08 g/dL. Utah implemented a 0.05 g/dL BAC law in late 2018, and an evaluation found that the law was associated with substantial reductions in crashes, alcohol-involved crashes, and deaths per mile driven. BAC laws set at 0.05 g/dL could help the U.S. to reduce alcohol-impaired driving deaths and achieve lower crash death rates similar to other high-income countries.
1.7% of adults in the United States engaged in alcohol-impaired driving during the past 30 days in 2018; this percentage was 1.7% in 2014 and 2.1% in 2016. The majority of episodes of alcohol-impaired driving were among men and adults who recently binge drank. Proven strategies to reduce alcohol-impaired driving exist at the population-level and in primary care settings.
12 million Americans ages 16 and older drove under the influence of marijuana during the past 12 months and 2.3 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during the past 12 months in 2018. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a serious public health concern that needs to be better addressed to safeguard the health and safety of everyone on the road.
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