Drunk Driving Prevention

Drinking and driving don't mix. An alcohol-related motor vehicle crash kills someone every 30 minutes and nonfatally injures someone every two minutes

How does alcohol affect a person's ability to drive?

The more a person drinks, the more their ability to make crucial driving decisions becomes impaired. After just one drink, a driver can begin to lose their ability to perform the tasks necessary to drive a car; braking, steering, changing lanes, and using judgement to adjust to changing road conditions. At a certain point, a driver will become legally intoxicated and can be arrested for attempting to operate a motor vehicle.

What does DUI and DWI mean?

DUI means "Driving under the influence" of alcohol or drugs. DWI means "Driving while intoxicated." These terms are used by police. In every state in our country there is a legal limit to how much alcohol you can have in your body if you are driving. If you drink and drive, you can lose your driver's license and even go to jail.

How do you measure how much alcohol is in the blood?

A driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. Police test breath to measure a drivers "BAC." It can also be tested in the blood, urine or saliva.

What can you do about drunk driving?

Follow these suggestions from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). 

  • Your best defence against a drunk driver is to wear your safety belt, make sure any children in the car are in child safety seats.
  • Never ride in a car operated by someone who has been drinking. Call a cab or ask a friend (one who has not been drinking) to drive you home.
  • Report drunk drivers to law enforcement from a car or pay phone.
  • Keep a safe distance from anyone driving erratically.
Persons who drive while impaired by alcohol or other drugs are a public health hazard to themselves and others.
  • A total of 17,013 alcohol-related fatalities were recorded in 2003, down by 511, or almost 3 percent, from the total of 17,524 recorded in 2002. The greatest reduction in fatalities was among those in crashes where the highest blood-alcohol content (BAC) was .08 and above.
  • Be responsible and don't risk it ... you will be caught.
  • If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.
  • Take mass transit, a taxicab, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Spend the night where the activity is held.
  • Always buckle up - it's your best defense against an impaired driver.


  • Nearly three quarters of drivers convicted of driving while impaired are either frequent heavy drinkers (alcohol abusers) or alcoholics (people who are alcohol dependent).

  • In its publication The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that alcohol-related crashes in 2000 were associated with more than $51 billion in costs.

For more information visit the following areas:

Some of the above information has been provided with the kind permission of the  NHTSA-Departement of Transportation (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/) and the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov).
Last Editorial Review: 11/30/2004