DUI Myths Shattered: Statistics You Didn’t Know

Everyone knows that drunk driving can kill, but a lot of people also make incorrect assumptions about other DUI stats. Here’s a look at a few that may seem a little unfamiliar or surprising. Did you make any of these assumptions?

Assumption: The number of people arrested for DUI represent how many people are driving under the influence.

This appears to be false. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.4 million people were arrested for DUI of alcohol or narcotics, but that accounted for less than 1% of self-reported cases each year of adults driving drunk in the U.S.

Assumption: States that are perceived to have active nightlife scenes, like Nevada and California, would have the most alcohol-related traffic deaths.

If you’re going by the percentage of DUI-related traffic deaths per state, this isn’t accurate. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving sorted through stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and ranked each state.

South Carolina got the worst ranking, and other states in the top 10 worst rankings included North Dakota, Texas, Montana, Kansas, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Washington, Mississippi, and Hawaii.

Assumption: Drinkers usually know they’re misusing alcohol.

While this doesn’t relate directly to DUIs, it does relate to drinking behavior in general. Most drinkers may be aware of how much they’re consuming and what problems that may pose, but many others don’t realize their misusing/abusing alcohol.

The NHTSA said, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, when men drink more than 4 drinks in one day or more than 14 drinks throughout a week, they’re participating in “at-risk” drinking. For women, it’s 3 drinks a single day and 7 drinks per week.


Drinking and driving is dangerous, but there are many other unknown statistics that can help shed light on just how bad it is and what kind of drinking behavior goes on in general. For example, 21st.com states “people convicted for the first time of alcohol-impaired driving as less likely to re-offend if they have to install alcohol interlocks on their vehicles.” Should the penalties be changed? What are some misconceptions you found out about? Do you know of any DUI-related surprising stats?

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