For first time since 2008, more than 11K killed in alcohol-related crashes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is horrified by the drastic and unacceptable increase in the loss of life on America’s roads during the pandemic, when fewer cars were on the road. According to new data released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-related deaths spiked 14% from 2019 to 2020 while vehicle miles traveled decreased by 11%.

The 11,654 people killed in alcohol-related crashes is the most since 2008. Overall, traffic

crashes killed 38,824 people, more than any year since 2007. According to NHTSA, 45% of

traffic deaths involved at least one of three hazardous behaviors: impaired driving, speeding

or not wearing a seat belt.

“It’s heartbreaking to learn that in addition to the tragedy and disruption caused by the

pandemic, families and communities are being irreparably traumatized by the 100%

preventable, violent crime of drunk driving,” said MADD National President Alex Otte.

“NHTSA’s new data shows the human cost of complacency and the need for drunk driving

prevention technology on all new vehicles and increased equitable traffic safety


MADD urges Secretary Buttigieg to convene a national Call to Action meeting as soon as possible to implement the new National Roadway Safety Strategy, which must include swift implementation of the Congressionally mandated rulemaking to require technology in all new cars that will prevent drunk driving, as well as actions to increase fair and just traffic safety enforcement.

As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law on November 15,

NHTSA must initiate a rulemaking and set a standard within three years for passive drunk

driving prevention technology in all new cars. Automakers then have three years to

implement the standard. MADD worked closely with Congress and partners to help pass this

lifesaving bipartisan legislation. When implemented, passive drunk driving prevention

technology has the potential to save more than 9,400 lives and countless injuries.

“Each year we wait for advanced technology in cars, the more devastating this public safety

crisis is for every one of us,” Otte said. “Drunk driving can impact any one of us at any

time. We clearly need the help of advanced technology, law enforcement, and our partners

in educating everyone to make the safe choice to never drive after consuming alcohol or

other impairing drugs.”

For more information about passive drunk driving prevention technology, visit



Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against

Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help

fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage

drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths

by more than 50% and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly 1 million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.