Drunk Driving Deaths Rose to 32% of All Traffic Fatalities in 2022

More than 13,000 People Died in Alcohol-Related Crashes for Second Straight Year

Drunk driving killed more than 13,000 people for the second year in a row, according to a new report released this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Alcohol-related crashes claimed 32% of all traffic deaths in 2022, up from 31% in 2021.

In response to this persistent public health crisis, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is calling for aggressive and urgent action to ensure all new vehicles are soon equipped with drunk and impaired driving prevention technology, which would save more than 10,000 lives per year when implemented, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

NHTSA estimated 13,524 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2022, compared to 13,617 in 2021. The new report reflects an update to the agency’s original estimate for 2021 of 13,384 alcohol-related fatalities.

“For the second year, we are learning that drunk driving took the lives of more than 13,000 people, a level we had not seen since 2007. We are losing children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and people we love to tragic and avoidable crashes,” said MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “MADD is committed to collaborating with victims and survivors, and our partners in government, industry and the traffic safety community to educate about the dangers of impaired driving and the urgent need for technology on all new cars that prevents this crime.”

NHTSA was directed in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to complete a rule by November 2024 that will direct how auto manufacturers build passive impaired driving prevention technology into new passenger vehicles. Once the NHTSA rule is published, auto manufacturers will be given two to three years to build the technology into new models. The provision in the Infrastructure Law is known as the Honoring the Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act, for a Michigan family of five – Issam, Rima, Ali, Isabella and Giselle – who were killed by a drunk driver in January 2019.

“Victims and survivors fought hard for the HALT Act, and technology is available that can meet the law’s requirements. This latest NHTSA report underscores that implementing impaired driving prevention technology is vitally important for the safety of our communities,” Stewart said. “We also ask everyone to join us in our mission to end impaired driving by making the right choice to never drink and drive. Each one of us can make a difference today.”

Drunk driving deaths have increased 33% since 2019, after a decade of 10,000 alcohol-related fatalities per year and record lows of 9,878 and 9,943 in 2011 and 2014, respectively. The 2022 NHTSA data suggests the number of alcohol-related fatalities may be leveling off after historic increases during the pandemic. About 20 states saw a decrease in 2022, compared with just three states in 2021.

There is much ground to make up, however. Only five states saw a decrease or no change from 2019 to 2022: Alaska (-5%), Idaho (no change), North Dakota (-19%), Rhode Island (-8%), Wisconsin (-8%). Other states did not fare as well. The five states with the largest drunk driving death percentage increases from 2019 to 2022 were Vermont (189%), Utah (89%), Arizona (74%), South Carolina (72%) and Colorado (63%).

“Each one of us can make a difference today,” Stewart said. “We also ask everyone to join us in our mission to end impaired driving by making the right choice to never drink and drive.”



Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.