All states but Utah define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08% as a crime, and specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state. Effective December 30, 2018, Utah’s BAC is set at 0.05.%
44 states, D.C. and Guam have increased penalties for drivers convicted at higher BACs (specific levels and penalties vary by state).
48 states, D.C., the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver's license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test. Most of these states allow limited driving privileges (such as to/from work).
All states have some type of ignition interlock program, in which judges require all or some convicted drunk drivers to install interlocks in their cars to disable the engine if alcohol is detected on their breath. 31 states* (and four California counties) have made ignition interlocks mandatory or highly incentivized for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders. 7 states require them for repeat offenders; and 8 states for both high BAC and repeat offenders. The remaining 4 states make interlocks discretionary. *We defer to our State Highway Safety Office members' interpretation of the law. Some groups may have a higher count.
Federal law mandates that states adopt open container and repeat offender laws meeting specific requirements. Otherwise, a portion of the state's surface transportation funding is transferred to the state DOT or State Highway Safety Office. 38 states, D.C. and 3 territories have open container laws which meet federal requirements. 33 states, D.C. and 3 territories have repeat offender laws which meet federal requirements.
A PDF chart of state drunk driving laws is available for download here.
NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on drunk driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.
With some states seeing an increase in alcohol-related crashes and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia is looking to get drunk and drugged drivers off the road during the 29th annual “Hands Across the Border” DUI enforcement and awareness campaign.
The number of DUI arrests neared pre-pandemic levels in early summer, according to Pennsylvania State Police figures, despite much less traffic and pandemic restrictions imposed on bars and restaurants.
GHSA & Responsibility.org to Award $245,000 in Highway Safety Grants
WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the sixth consecutive year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) are awarding grants to help states keep Americans safe from the most dangerous impaired drivers.
As driving begins to return to normal levels across the country after months of lockdown, motorists may fall back into bad driving habits. Even though drivers know that their risky behavior is wrong, many do it anyway, particularly those involved in a recent crash.