Impaired Driving Previous Offenses and BAC Levels

Average Defendant Charge

Average Defendant BAC










.26 or Higher


0.00-0.07 0.08-0.14

3rd Offense

1st Offense 2nd Offense


4 or More Offenses

Based on cases monitored in 2020, roughly 23% of those arrested on an impaired driving charge had been convicted of a previous offense. MADD supports the usage of ignition interlock devices on all convicted drunk drivers. Studies have shown that interlocks reduce recidivism 7 . Of 1 million individuals arrested each year for impaired driving, roughly 230,000 of those arrests are repeat offenders. Ignition Interlocks not only prevent future offenses, but save lives by requiring a clean breath sample before allowing a car to start. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) refers to the percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood stream. In most US states, a person is legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of .08 or higher (a few states have a legal intoxication law of .05). Drivers with a BAC of .08 are approximately 4 times more likely to crash than drivers with a BAC of zero; while those at .15 are 12 times more likely to crash 8 . In review of the 2018 fatality crash data, the most recent data at publication of this report, 67% of crashes involved at least one driver with a BAC of .15 or higher 9 . Based on cases monitored in 2020, 61% of defendants had a BAC of .15 or higher.

A Special Thank You

MADD would like to thank our amazing court monitoring volunteers. Throughout 2020, these volunteer court monitors spenthundredsofhours incourt (physicallyandvirtually), reviewingcasedataandeducatingthepublic. Theirparticipation, commitment to their community and passion tomake a difference are why they play a vital role in helping to achieve our mission. WewouldalsoliketoacknowledgeProsecutors, JudgesandlikemindedAdvocatesfor theircompassionandcommitment to victims of impaired driving. Your dedication to pursue the fullest prosecution of each case will prevent future offenses and save lives. MADDmust also provide a resounding thank you to law enforcement. Each time law enforcement removes an impaired driver from the road, countless lives are saved. Thank you for your dedication, bravery and hardwork to keep our nation’s roadways safe through the enforcement and prevention of underage drinking and impaired driving. Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude to our legislative advocates and champions from across the nation. We appreciate your unwavering commitment to pass lifesaving legislation on the state and federal levels. Truly your work has helped to prevent countless tragedies. To learnmore about MADD’s current legislative priorities visit madd.org/HALTAct .

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