Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Drunk driving crashes, fatalities and injuries

Alcohol-related crashes, injuries and fatalities reached their peak around 1979. After that year, the number of crashes and injuries dropped off considerably due to changes in legislation and intensive enforcement. However, alcohol-related fatalities have remained relatively constant since about 1982, and that is a continued concern.

Chart - Alcohol fatalities and injuries from crashes

Chart description

The area chart to left indicates the Wisconsin statewide injuries and total crashes (from 0 to 35,000) on the vertical axis on the left side while fatalities are on the vertical axis on the right side. The horizontal axis indicates the years from 1976-2008. Alcohol related crashes, injuries and fatalities are compared using three separate graphics within the one chart. Trends, increases or reductions in the three areas are apparent when comparing.

Since 1990, alcohol-related fatalities have declined 30% (from 335), alcohol-related injuries have declined 57% (from 10,035), and alcohol-related crashes have declined 46% (from 13,309).


The number and rate of alcohol-related crashes has increased very slightly over the past five years in Wisconsin, yet alcohol remains the single greatest driver contributing cause of fatal crashes.

In 2000, there were 9,096 alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin. An average of one person was killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash every 1.9 hours on Wisconsin roadways. Alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin accounted for 5.8% of all crashes


In 2008, alcohol was a contributing circumstance in 234 traffic deaths.

That represents 40% of all traffic fatalities. Of the 398 drivers who died in 2008, 362 (91%) were tested for alcohol. Of those tested, 147 (41%) tested positive for alcohol and 127 (35%) were legally intoxicated (0.08 % Alcohol Concentration (AC) or higher).

In 2008, 27% of all pedestrians and 44% of all motorcycle operators killed in crashes had an alcohol concentration of 0.08% AC or higher.


During 2008, there were 4,319 alcohol-related injuries in crashes. This represents 9% of all crash injuries. Alcohol-related injuries have decreased by 70% since 1983, when there were 14,282 injuries.

Questions about the content of this page:
Colette Brown, Colette.brown@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: January 15, 2014

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