You often see the police run drunk driving campaigns or seek to raise awareness. Maybe you’ve seen police cars out in force on certain days, particularly around the holidays, when they know that drunk driving may be more common.

Exactly how common is drunk driving in an average year in the United States? Is it really still a major issue?


There are two parts to this answer. First, it is impossible to know how many people actually drive under the influence, as many are never caught. They say that most who are arrested are not driving drunk for the first time. That said, we can look at the numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other experts to get an idea about how common this is. Here are a few of the key statistics:

  • The average number of arrests for impaired driving every year is 1.5 million. This is, however, for both drugs and alcohol.
  • When you compare that to the number of licensed drivers in the country, there is about one arrest for every 121 drivers.
  • An arrest takes place for every “ 88 instances of driving.
  • A full 772 people get arrested within two hours of consuming alcoholic beverages.

These numbers do help to paint the picture and show that the police are serious about cracking down on impaired driving. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you may be wondering about the potential legal ramifications, when you can get your license back, and how this could all impact your future. It is important to work with an experienced law firm as you address these questions.