Drunk driving is defined as
the operating of a motor vehicle and having consumed
sufficient alcohol or drugs that would impair ones
motor skills and mental ability to operate such
vehicle safely. This is sometimes also known
as "drinking and driving" which involves the
consumption of alcoholic beverages while operating a
The legal term for drunk driving
is driving under the influence or DUI.
A lesser related criminal offense is
driving while impaired (DWI) which involves having a
lesser amount of alcohol in ones system while
operating a motor vehicle on public right of ways.
The term "motor vehicle" not only applies to
automobiles but can include boats, aircraft,
snowmobiles, ATV's and other such motorized
conveyances. By 2005 all states had passed
legislation making it a crime to drive with a blood
alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 g/dL or higher.
According to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, an estimated 1.4 million drivers were
arrested for a drunk driving DUI or DWI in 2004.
One out of every 139 licensed drivers faced arrest.
It should be noted that some arrests occur when the
vehicle is stopped but the driver is behind the
wheel with the keys in the ignition.
In 2005, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were
16,885 alcohol related traffic deaths. This
was a 0.2% decrease from the 2004 statistics and a
5% reduction from the 1995 figures. The NHTSA
estimates that approximately 39% of all 2005 fatal
accidents involved alcohol. Of the children
under 15 years of age killed in fatal accidents, 21%
where killed in accidents involving alcohol.
Of the pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, in
44% of those accidents either the driver or the
pedestrian had a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher.
And, in 52% of the alcohol related accidents
resulting death, the driver had a BAC of at least
double the legal limit.