Crash Facts

Pennsylvania DUI Association

Alcohol-Related Crashes

2015 Crash Facts – Click for a complete copy of the Crash Facts

Alcohol Overview

▶ In Pennsylvania, drinking and driving remains a top safety issue. In 2015, alcohol-related crashes decreased to 10,558 from 10,550 alcohol-related crashes in 2014. In 2014, alcohol-related deaths increased to 345 from 333 from 2014.

▶ Of particular concern is the involvement of drinking drivers under the age of 21. 16% of the driver deaths in the 16-20 age group were drinking drivers, up from 13% in 2014. Improvement in this age group is a very important need.

▶ Of equal focus is the 21 to 25 age group, in which 44% of the driver deaths were drinking drivers. This age group had the second worst percentage of all groups, and was up from 43% in 2014. The 26 to 30 age group increased to 37% from 31% in 2014.

▶ In 2015, alcohol-related deaths were 29% of the total traffic deaths, less than in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

▶ 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).

2015 Briefs

▶ 345 people died in alcohol-related crashes.

▶ 93% of the alcohol-related occupant deaths (drivers and passengers) were in the vehicle driven by the drinking driver; 73% 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, 29 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred.

▶ On average each day, 0.9 persons were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes.

▶ On average each day, 19 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 2015, they resulted in 29% of all persons killed in crashes. Alcohol-related crashes were 4.5 times more likely to result in death than those not related to alcohol (3.0% of the alcohol-related crashes resulted in death, 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    321 (29.1%)    345 (28.8%) 5,274 (8.9%) 7,055 (8.6%) 4,963 (7.4%)
Non-Alcohol Related    781 (70.9%)    855 (71.3%) 54,017 (91.1%) 74,955 (91.4%) 61,764 (92.6%)
Total 1,102(100.0%) 1,200 (100.0%) 59,291 (100.0%) 82,010 (100.0%) 66,727 (100.0%)

Alcohol-Related Crashes—Five-Year Trends

Alcohol-related crashes decreased in 2014, and were the lowest total in the last five years. Alcohol-related fatalities decreased in 2014, and were the lowest total in the last five years. Alcohol-related fatalities are trending downward.

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Crashes 11,805 11,956 11,041 10,550 10,558
  Fatal Crashes 393 375 363 311 321
  Injury Crashes 6,241 6,425 5,864 5,377 5,274
   PDO Crashes 5,171 5,156 4,814 4,862 4,963
Deaths 428 404 381 333 345
Injuries 8,471 8,724 7,900 7,265 7,055
Fatal Crashes per 100,000 Licensed Drivers 4.5 4.2 4.1 3.5 3.6
Deaths per 100,000 Licensed Drivers 4.9 4.6 4.3 3.7 3.9

Victims of Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes

There were 297 driver and passenger deaths in alcohol-related crashes in 2015, while 277 (93%) were the drinking drivers or their passengers.

Persons Involved Deaths
Drivers 248
  Drinking Drivers 234 (94.4%)
  Non-Drinking Drivers  14 (5.7%)
Passengers 49
  Passengers with Drinking Driver 43 (87.8%)
 Passengers with Non-Drinking Driver    6 (12.2%)
Pedestrians 43
  Drinking Pedestrian 35 (81.4%)
  Non-Drinking Pedestrian  8 (18.6%)
TOTAL DEATHS 345

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 58 115
4:00-7:59 AM 121 16
8:00-11:59 AM 152 5
Noon-3:59 PM 220 23
4:00-7:59 PM 166 83
8:00-11:59 PM 135 101
Time Unknown    3    2
TOTAL DEATHS 855 345

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 123 25
Tuesday 123 25
Wednesday 110 32
Thursday 110 45
Friday 153 49
Saturday 102 88
Sunday 134 81
TOTAL DEATHS 855 345

Alcohol-Related Crashes—Day vs. Night

73.1% 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 69 1
Post New Years 30 1
Pre-Memorial Day 119 3
Memorial Day 137 9
Post Memorial Day 108 5
Pre-Independence Day 136 3
Independence Day 145 6
Post-Independence Day 115 8
Pre-Labor Day 128 7
Labor Day 119 8
Post-Labor Day 120 2
Pre-Thanksgiving 166 4
Thanksgiving 180 12
Post-Thanksgiving 160 6
Pre-Christmas 147 6
Christmas 131 3
TOTAL 1,825 73

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 207,013

Passenger Cars 117,069
Lt Trk/SUV/Van 76,898
Heavy Truck 7,370
Motorcycle 3,502
Bus 907
Other 1,267

Drinking Drivers in Crashes 10,336 (5.0% of total)

Passenger Cars 6,026 5.1% of total
Lt Trk/SUV/Van 3,907 5.1% of total
Heavy Truck 43 0.6% of total
Motorcycle 296 8.5% of total
Bus 1 0.1% of total
Other 63 5.0% 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 3 1 4
16-20 454 125 579
21-25 1,658 647 2,305
26-30 1,255 452 1,707
31-35 885 354 1,239
36-40 680 255 935
41-45 597 257 854
46-50 567 225 792
51-55 586 182 768
56-60 429 101 530
61-65 209 63 272
66-70 158 27 185
71-75 56 14 70
Over 75 42 9 51
Total 7,579 2,712 10,291

 

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

In 2015, 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 6 drinking drivers.

Age Group Drinking Driver   Non-Drinking Driver
Under 16 6 4.0% 145 96.0%
16-20 579 2.4% 23,287 97.6%
21-25 2,305 7.6% 27,971 92.4%
26-30 1,708 7.2% 21,878 92.8%
31-35 1,239 6.4% 18,131 93.6%
36-40 937 5.9% 14,875 94.1%
41-45 854 5.5% 14,603 94.5%
46-50 793 5.1% 14,849 94.9%
51-55 770 4.9% 14,927 95.1%
56-60 530 3.9% 12,928 96.1%
Over 60 578 1.9% 29,276 98.1%

 

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

The table below shows drinking driver deaths as a percentage of total driver deaths within each respective age group for 2015 crashes. The age group from 31 to 35 had the highest percentage, with 47% of the driver deaths in this age group being a drinking driver. The 16-20 age group increased from 13.2% in 2014. In 2015, 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 16.0%
21-25 43.6%
26-30 36.5%
31-35 47.1%
36-40 41.7%
41-45 21.8%
46-50 40.6%
51-55 35.1%
56-60 26.1%
61-65 18.6%
66-70 14.3%
71-75 10.3%
Over 75 1.3%

 

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
2006 1,535
2007 1,305
2008 1,239
2009 1,294
2010 1,265
2011 943
2012 954
2013 782
2014 672
2015 585