Crash Facts

Pennsylvania DUI Association

Alcohol-Related Crashes

2016 Crash Facts – Click for a complete copy of the Crash Facts

Alcohol Overview

▶ In Pennsylvania, drinking and driving remains a top safety issue. In 2016, alcohol-related crashes decreased to 10,256 from 10,558 alcohol-related crashes in 2015. In 2016, alcohol-related fatalities decreased to 297 from 345 from 2015.

▶ Of particular concern is the involvement of drinking drivers under the age of 21. 12% of the driver fatalities in the 16-20 age group were drinking drivers, down from 16% in 2015. Improvement in this age group is a very important need.

▶ Of equal focus is the 21 to 25 age group, in which 29% of the driver fatalities were drinking drivers. This age group had the fifth worst percentage of all groups, and was down from 44% in 2015. The 26 to 30 age group decreased to 32% from 37% in 2015.

▶ In 2016, alcohol-related deaths were 25% of the total traffic deaths, less than in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

▶ Pennsylvania continues to take an aggressive posture to prevent and deter drinking and driving (particularly through the widespread use of sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols).

2016 Briefs

▶ 297 people died in alcohol-related crashes.

▶ 90% of the alcohol-related occupant fatalities (drivers and passengers) were in the vehicle driven by the drinking driver; 72% were the drinking drivers themselves.

▶ 74% of the drinking drivers in traffic crashes were male.

▶ 73% of the alcohol-related crashes were during the hours of darkness, usually on weekends.

▶ On average each day, 28 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred.

▶ On average each day, 0.8 persons were fatally injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes.

▶ On average each day, 18 persons were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes.

Alcohol Involvement in Crashes

Although alcohol-related crashes accounted for approximately 8% of the total crashes in 2016, they resulted in 25% of all persons fatally injured in crashes. Alcohol-related crashes were 3.8 times more likely to result in fatal injury than those not related to alcohol (3.0% of the alcohol-related crashes resulted in fatal injury, compared to 0.7% of crashes which were not alcohol-related). “PDO Crashes” in the table below refers to property damage only crashes.

  Fatal Crashes Deaths Injury Crashes Injuries PDO Crashes
Alcohol-Related    270 (24.8%)    297 (25.0%) 4,911 (8.2%) 6,589 (7.9%) 5,075 (7.4%)
Non-Alcohol Related    818 (75.2%)    891 (75.0%) 54,949 (91.8%) 76,390 (92.1%) 63,364 (92.6%)
Total 1,088 (100.0%) 1,188 (100.0%) 59,860 (100.0%) 82,979 (100.0%) 86,439 (100.0%)

Alcohol-Related Crashes—Five-Year Trends

Alcohol-related crashes decreased in 2016, and were the lowest total in the last five years. Alcohol-related fatalities decreased in 2016, and were the lowest total in the last five years. Alcohol-related fatalities are trending downward.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Crashes 11,956 11,041 10,550 10,558 10,256
  Fatal Crashes 375 363 311 321 270
  Injury Crashes 6,425 5,864 5,377 5,274 4,911
   PDO Crashes 5,156 4,814 4,862 4,963 5,075
Deaths 404 381 333 345 297
Injuries 8,724 7,900 7,265 7,055 6,589
Fatal Crashes per 100,000 Licensed Drivers 4.2 4.1 3.5 3.6 3.0
Deaths per 100,000 Licensed Drivers 4.6 4.3 3.7 3.9 3.3

Victims of Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes

There were 245 driver and passenger fatalities in alcohol-related crashes in 2016, while 221 (90%) were the drinking drivers or their passengers.

Persons Involved Deaths
Drivers 190
  Drinking Drivers176  (92.6%)
  Non-Drinking Drivers  14 (7.4%)
Passengers 55
  Passengers with Drinking Driver 45 (81.8%)
 Passengers with Non-Drinking Driver 10 (18.2%)
Pedestrians 49
  Drinking Pedestrian 35 (71.4%)
  Non-Drinking Pedestrian 14 (28.6%)
TOTAL DEATHS 297

Victims of Fatal Crashes by Time of Day

Alcohol-related crashes occurring between 8:00 PM and 4:00 AM produced the vast majority of deaths (63% of alcohol-related deaths). In contrast, under half of the deaths (45%) from non-alcohol-related crashes resulted from crashes occurring between noon and 8:00 PM.

Time of Occurrence Non-Alcohol Related Alcohol Related
Midnight-3:59 AM 79 108
4:00-7:59 AM 111 20
8:00-11:59 AM 140 9
Noon-3:59 PM 235 17
4:00-7:59 PM 193 61
8:00-11:59 PM 131 81
Time Unknown    2   1
TOTAL DEATHS 891 297

Victims of Fatal Crashes by Day of Week

Just under half (49%) of alcohol-related fatal crash victims were the result of crashes occurring on Saturday and Sunday, while fatal crash victims of non-alcohol-related crashes tended to be distributed more evenly throughout the work week with the fewest occurring on Thursday and Saturday

Day of Occurrence Non-Alcohol-Related Alcohol-Related
Monday 120 31
Tuesday 134 21
Wednesday 134 22
Thursday 126 33
Friday 151 54
Saturday 130 76
Sunday   96 60
TOTAL DEATHS 891 297

Alcohol-Related Crashes—Day vs. Night

73.0% of alcohol-related crashes occurred at night.

Alcohol-Related Holiday Crashes

In 2015, 12% of all holiday crashes involved alcohol use; however, 42% of deaths which occurred during holiday weekends were related to alcohol use.

Period Crashes Deaths
New Years 117 0
Post New Years 146 3
Pre-Memorial Day 142 5
Memorial Day 133 3
Post Memorial Day 121 7
Pre-Independence Day 102 4
Independence Day 153 6
Post-Independence Day 106 3
Pre-Labor Day 118 6
Labor Day 118 9
Post-Labor Day 110 3
Pre-Thanksgiving 152 6
Thanksgiving 156 4
Post-Thanksgiving 125 3
Pre-Christmas 141 3
Christma9 131 3
TOTAL 2,079 68

Driver Involvement in Alcohol-Related Crashes by Vehicle Type

Motorcyclists had the largest percentage of drinking drivers to total drivers compared to the drivers of other types of vehicles. Drinking drivers of passenger cars, light trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles were equal to or just above the average for drivers of all vehicle types. Bus and heavy truck drivers accounted for very few of the drinking drivers in crashes.

Total Drivers in Crashes 213,271

Passenger Cars 120,071
Lt Trk/SUV/Van 80,113
Heavy Truck 7,271
Motorcycle 3,539
Bus 938
Other 1,339

Drinking Drivers in Crashes 10,059 (4.7% of total)

Passenger Cars 5,871 4.9% of total
Lt Trk/SUV/Van 3,803 4.7% of total
Heavy Truck 41 0.6% of total
Motorcycle 274 7.7% of total
Bus 0 0.0% of total
Other 70 5.2% of total

 

Drinking Drivers in Crashes by Age and Sex

In 2015, roughly 3 out of 4 drinking drivers in crashes were male (across most age groups), with only slight variations among the age groups. The table below does not include an additional 45 drivers for whom age and/or sex were not known.

Age Group Male Female Total
Under 16 5 2 7
16-20 464 140 604
21-25 1,580 546 2,126
26-30 1,267 449 1,716
31-35 863 347 1,210
36-40 624 272 896
41-45 548 243 791
46-50 571 195 766
51-55 556 206 762
56-60 427 132 559
61-65 211 62 273
66-70 154 23 177
71-75 67 2 69
Over 75 31 10 41
Total 7,368 2,629 9,997

 

Drinking Drivers vs. Non-Drinking Drivers Involved in Crashes by Age Group

In 2016, as the table below shows, the two age groups from 21 to 30 had the highest percentage of drinking drivers within their respective age groups. After age 40, the percentage of drinking drivers within the succeeding age groups steadily declined. The Under 16 age group continues to be of particular concern, as it included 8 drinking drivers.

Age Group Drinking Driver   Non-Drinking Driver
Under 16 8 5.0% 152 95.0%
16-20 605 2.5% 23,960 97.5%
21-25 2,128 7.0% 28,359 93.0%
26-30 1,718 6.9% 23,300 93.1%
31-35 1,211 6.1% 18,527 93.9%
36-40 896 5.5% 15,374 94.5%
41-45 791 5.1% 14,701 94.9%
46-50 768 4.9% 15,020 95.1%
51-55 763 4.8% 15,109 95.2%
56-60 559 4.0% 13,410 96.0%
Over 60 562 1.8% 31,085 98.2%

 

Drinking Driver Deaths as a Percentage of Total Driver Deaths, by Age Group

The table below shows drinking driver fatalities as a percentage of total driver fatalities within each respective age group for 2016 crashes. The age group from 31 to 35 had the highest percentage, with 38% of the driver fatalities in this age group being a drinking driver. The 16-20 age group decreased from 16.0% in 2015. In 2016, there were no drivers under the age of 16 who chose to combine alcohol usage and driving without a license.

Age Group Percentage of Total Driver Deaths
Under 16 0.0%
16-20 12.3%
21-25 28.7%
26-30 31.7%
31-35 38.3%
36-40 33.3%
41-45 19.6%
46-50 29.2%
51-55 27.4%
56-60 25.8%
61-65 15.0%
66-70 10.5%
71-75 3.7%
Over 75 2.4%

 

Underage Drinking Drivers in Pennsylvania Crashes—Historical Data

Act 31, commonly known as the “Underage Drinking Law,” went into effect on May 24, 1988. From that year, and until 1994, the number of underage drinking drivers involved in Pennsylvania crashes declined each year. From 1997 until 2002, the amount of underage drinking drivers remained consistently high. From that point until 2015 there has been a downward trend with 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2012 disrupting the steady decrease.

Year Underage Drinking Drivers in PA Crashes
2007 1,305
2008 1,239
2009 1,294
2010 1,265
2011 943
2012 954
2013 782
2014 672
2015 585
2016 613