Crash Facts

Pennsylvania DUI Association

Alcohol-Related Crashes

2018 Crash Facts – Click for a complete copy of the Crash Facts

Alcohol Overview

▶ In Pennsylvania, drinking and driving remains a top safety issue. In 2018, alcohol-related crashes decreased to 9,811 from 10,346 alcohol-related crashes in 2017. In 2018, alcohol-related fatalities increased to 331 from 293 in 2017.

▶ Of particular concern is the involvement of drinking drivers under the age of 21. 29% of the driver fatalities in the 16-20 age group were drinking drivers, up from 18% in 2017. Improvement in this age group is a very important need.

▶ Of equal focus is the 21 to 25 age group, in which 43% of the driver fatalities were drinking drivers. This age group had the worst percentage of all groups, and was up from 31% in 2017. The 26 to 30 age group decreased to 36% from 42% in 2017.

▶ In 2018, alcohol-related deaths were 28% of the total traffic fatalities, less than in 2014 and 2015.

2018 Briefs

▶ 331 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; 75% were the drinking drivers themselves.

▶ 75% of the drinking drivers in traffic crashes were male.

▶ 67% of the alcohol-related crashes were during the hours of darkness, usually on weekends.

▶ On average each day, 27 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred.

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

▶ On average each day, 17 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 2018, they resulted in 28% of all persons fatally injured in crashes. Alcohol-related crashes were 4.7 times more likely to result in fatal injury than those not related to alcohol (3.1% 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    307 (27.8%)    331 (27.8%) 4,665 (8.2%) 6,227 (8.0%) 4,839 (6.9%)
Non-Alcohol Related    796 (72.2%)    859 (72.2%) 52,089 (91.8%) 72,007 (92.0%) 65,698 (93.1%)
Total 1,103 (100.0%) 1,190 (100.0%) 56,754 (100.0%) 78,234 (100.0%) 70,537 (100.0%)

Alcohol-Related Crashes—Five-Year Trends

Alcohol-related crashes decreased in 2018, and were the lowest total in the last five years. Alcohol-related fatalities increased in 2018, and were the third lowest total in the last five years. Alcohol-related fatalities are trending downward.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Crashes 10,550 10,558 10,256 10,346 9,811
  Fatal Crashes 311 321 270 280 307
  Injury Crashes 5,377 5,274 4,911 4,908 4,665
   PDO Crashes 4,862 4,963 5,057 5,158 4,839
Deaths 333 345 297 293 331
Injuries 7,265 7,055 6,589 6,565 6,227
Fatal Crashes per 100,000 Licensed Drivers 3.5 3.6 3.0 3.1 3.4
Deaths per 100,000 Licensed Drivers 3.7 3.9 3.3 3.3 3.7

Victims of Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes

There were 273 driver and passenger fatalities in alcohol-related crashes in 2018, while 245 (90%) were the drinking drivers or their passengers.

Persons Involved Deaths
Drivers 224
  Drinking Drivers  204 (91.1%)
  Non-Drinking Drivers  20 (8.9%)
Passengers 49
  Passengers with Drinking Driver 41 (83.7%)
 Passengers with Non-Drinking Driver 8 (16.3%)
Pedestrians 55
  Drinking Pedestrian 41 (74.6%)
  Non-Drinking Pedestrian 14 (25.5%)
TOTAL DEATHS 331

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 (58% of alcohol-related deaths). In contrast, under half of the deaths (51%) 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   49   95
4:00-7:59 AM 108   35
8:00-11:59 AM 144     8
Noon-3:59 PM 231   26
4:00-7:59 PM 206   70
8:00-11:59 PM 119   97
Time Unknown     2     0
TOTAL DEATHS 859 331

Victims of Fatal Crashes by Day of Week

Just under half (48%) 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 107  34
Tuesday 108  21
Wednesday 129  27
Thursday 128  39
Friday 136  50
Saturday 128  92
Sunday 123  68
TOTAL DEATHS 859 331

Alcohol-Related Crashes—Day vs. Night

66.8% of alcohol-related crashes occurred at night.

Alcohol-Related Holiday Crashes

In 2018, 10% of all holiday crashes involved alcohol use; however, 41% of deaths which occurred during holiday weekends were related to alcohol use.

Period Crashes Deaths
New Years 62 1
Post New Years 119 5
Pre-Memorial Day 124 6
Memorial Day 130 4
Post Memorial Day 109 7
Pre-Independence Day   17 0
Independence Day   26 0
Post-Independence Day   26 3
Pre-Labor Day 112 4
Labor Day 141 8
Post-Labor Day 109 2
Pre-Thanksgiving 139 4
Thanksgiving 176 3
Post-Thanksgiving 166 7
Pre-Christmas   26 1
Christmas   34 0
TOTAL 1,527 55

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 – 210,108

Passenger Cars 116,586
Lt Trk/SUV/Van 80,591
Heavy Truck 7,826
Motorcycle 2,772
Bus 937
Other 1,396

Drinking Drivers in Crashes -9,585 (4.6% of total)

Passenger Cars 5,600 4.8% of total
Lt Trk/SUV/Van 3,580 4.4% of total
Heavy Truck      42 0.5% of total
Motorcycle    288 10.4% of total
Bus        1 0.1% of total
Other      74 5.3% of total

 

Drinking Drivers in Crashes by Age and Sex

In 2017, 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 57 drivers for whom age and/or sex were not known.

Age Group Male Female Total
Under 16 3 1 4
16-20 312 102 414
21-25 1,329 502 1,831
26-30 1,174 447 1,621
31-35 840 350 1,190
36-40 724 294 1,018
41-45 547 195 742
46-50 554 192 746
51-55 528 163 691
56-60 431 141 572
61-65 280 76 356
66-70 150 44 194
71-75 78 9 87
Over 75 40 19 59
Total 6,990 2,535 9,525

 

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

In 2018, 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 4 drinking drivers.

Age Group Drinking Driver   Non-Drinking Driver
Under 16 4 3.2% 120 96.8%
16-20 415 1.8% 22,510 98.2%
21-25 1,834 6.6% 26,125 93.4%
26-30 1,623 6.4% 23,600 93.6%
31-35 1,193 5.8% 19,296 94.2%
36-40 1,021 5.9% 16,329 94.1%
41-45 743 5.0% 14,055 95.0%
46-50 747 4.9% 14,656 95.2%
51-55 691 4.6% 14,458 95.4%
56-60 572 4.1% 13,238 95.9%
Over 60 698 2.1% 32,087 97.9%

 

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 2018 crashes. The age group from 21 to 25 had the highest percentage, with 43% of the driver fatalities in this age group being a drinking driver. The 16-20 age group increased from 18.0% in 2017. In 2018, 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 28.9%
21-25 42.7%
26-30 35.5%
31-35 22.2%
36-40 33.9%
41-45 33.3%
46-50 29.0%
51-55 37.0%
56-60 25.4%
61-65 22.0%
66-70 11.6%
71-75 13.3%
Over 75 1.1%

 

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 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2016 disrupting the steady decrease.

Year Underage Drinking Drivers in PA Crashes
2009 1,294
2010 1,265
2011 943
2012 954
2013 782
2014 672
2015 585
2016 613
2017 542
2018 419