Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Drunk driving risk factors

Alcohol concentration

Even at an Alcohol Content (AC) level as low as 0.04%, alcohol in your blood system affects driving ability and crash likelihood, according to Special Report 216, "Zero Alcohol" by the Transportation Research Board.

  • The probability of a crash begins to increase significantly at 0.05 AC and climbs rapidly after about 0.08%.
  • For drivers with AC's above 0.15% on weekend nights, the likelihood of being killed in a single-vehicle crash is more than 380 times higher than it is for non-drinking drivers.

Gender

Alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin are much more likely to involve men than women.

  • Among fatally injured male drivers in the year 2008, 37% of those tested had AC's of 0.08% or more and women tested for .08 or above were 29%. These numbers are taken from all of the fatalities that were tested.
  • Men, ages 21-24, are the most likely drivers to be killed in a crash when their blood alcohol content is above 0.08.

Age

Male drivers ages 21-40 make up the majority of fatally injured drivers with high ACs. This group has shown only a modest decline in the 1980s in the percentage of fatally injured drivers with high ACs.

In contrast, other age groups, particularly teenagers, show substantial declines. Drivers in the 16-20 year-old group showed the biggest improvement throughout the 1980s, due largely to the 21-year-old alcohol purchase laws.

Wisconsin Driver Age and Crash Involvement 2008
Age Total Number
in Crashes
Percent
Total
Number Who Had Been
Drinking in Crashes
Percent
Total
Unknown 18,659 9.0% 25 0.3%
14 and under 113 0.1% 6 0.1%
15 to 19 23,653 11.5% 614 8.5%
20 to 24 26,256 12.7% 1,721 23.8%
25 to 44 70,634 34.2% 3,258 45.0%
45 to 64 51,787 25.1% 1,455 20.1%
65 to 84 13,797 6.7% 152 2.1%
85 and up 1,334 0.6% 4 0.1%
Totals 206,233 100.0% 7,235 100.0%

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

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation does not testify to, sponsor or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages. Some pages contain links to other documents and media types (PDF, Word, Flash, Video, etc.) and require free plugins to work. Visit our software information page for assistance.