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.
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.
Historically, more fatal crashes happen on Wyoming roads during the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, otherwise known as the "100 Deadliest Days," than any other time of the year. More cars and motorcycles on the road, more tourists in the state and an increase in impaired driving are all contributing factors.
State officials say they have seen a troubling surge in traffic fatalities even though Gov. Tim Walz's stay-at-home order last month targeting the coronavirus has sharply reduced travel by motorists across Minnesota.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) was one of five State Highway Safety Offices to receive a grant from GHSA and ride-hailing company Lyft to prevent impaired driving during the 2019 holiday season. With its grant, WTSC continued messaging around the findings of its Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis and Alcohol (DUICA) survey and promoted the use of Lyft for safe and sober rides.
As the recipient of a grant from GHSA and ride-hailing company Lyft to prevent impaired driving, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) partnered with the Portland Police Bureau to distribute codes for discounted Lyft rides during the 2019 holiday season.