IMPAIRED DRIVING IN ARKANSAS
Incidence of Impaired Driving
For one of every 200 miles driven in Arkansas in 1999, a person with a blood
alcohol concentration (BAC) >.08 sat behind the wheel. Police in Arkansas
reported 4,645 crashes involving a driver or pedestrian with a BAC of .01 or
more. Formulas developed by NHTSA were used to estimate the number of alcohol-related
crashes where alcohol involvement was not reported by the police. An estimated
total of 25,800 crashes in Arkansas involved alcohol which killed 190 and injured
an estimated 9,700 people.
Impaired Driving by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
In 1999, Arkansas drivers with:
· BACs of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 24,600 crashes
that killed 140 and injured 8,500
· BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 400 crashes that
killed 15 and injured 400
· Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 800 crashes
that killed 35 and injured 800
Alcohol is a factor in 27% of Arkansas crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes
in Arkansas cost the public an estimated $1.3 billion in 1999, including $0.6
billion in monetary costs and almost $0.7 billion in quality of life losses.
(For definitions of the cost categories, see the definitions fact sheet.) Alcohol-related
crashes are deadlier and more serious than other crashes. People other than
the drinking driver paid $0.8 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill.
Costs per Alcohol-Related Injury
The average alcohol-related fatality in Arkansas costs $3.1 million:
· $0.9 million in monetary costs
· $2.2 million in quality of life losses
The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged
· $43,000 in monetary costs
· $47,000 in quality of life losses
Costs per Mile Driven
Crash costs in Arkansas averaged:
· $4.90 per mile driven at BACs of .10 and above
· $2.10 per mile driven at BACs between .08-.09
· $0.10 per mile driven at BACs of .00
Costs per Drink
The societal costs of alcohol-related crashes in Arkansas averaged $1.30 per
drink consumed. People other than the drinking driver paid $0.80 per drink.
Impact on Auto Insurance Rates
Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 19% of Arkansas auto
insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10% would save $30 million
in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.
Prevention Savings of Impaired Driving Measures
Arkansas already has many important impaired driving laws. They are saving
money and lives. The estimates that follow describe the expected costs and savings,
given Arkansas prices and impaired driving rates. The estimates assume
Arkansas laws achieve average U.S. effectiveness levels.
Administrative License Revocation: Laws that allow police or driver licensing
authorities to revoke a drivers license swiftly and automatically for
refusing or failing a BAC test have reduced alcohol-related fatalities by 6.5%
on average and saved an estimated $45,400 per driver sanctioned. The value of
the drivers lost mobility is the large majority of the estimated $2,300
cost per driver sanctioned. Reinstatement fees assessed to offenders typically
cover start-up and operating costs.
Zero Tolerance Law: Laws like Arkansass that make it illegal for persons
under 21 to drive with a positive BAC have reduced impaired-driving fatalities
by 4% on average. Per licensed youth driver, these laws cost approximately $30
and yield net savings of $600. Medical care cost savings alone exceed the intervention
cost. The primary cost is the value of mobility lost by youth who are forced
to reduce their drinking or driving.
.08 BAC Law: A well-publicized State law lowering driver BAC limits to .08
can potentially reduce alcohol-related fatalities by an average of 7%. On average,
.08 laws save an estimated $35 per licensed driver. The value of mobility losses
and alcohol sales reductions resulting from the law are the large majority of
the estimated $2.40 cost per licensed driver.
Intensive Sobriety Checkpoint Program: Intensive enforcement of Arkansas State
BAC limits with highly visible sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related fatalities
by at least 15% and save approximately $52,500 per checkpoint. Including police
resources, costs of travel delay and the value of mobility losses by impaired
drivers apprehended and sanctioned, the costs of conducting a checkpoint average
Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA): To reduce alcohol-related fatal crashes
among youth, Arkansas has adopted a MLDA of 21. It saves an estimated $460 per
youthful driver. The loss of liquor sales is the large majority of the $140
cost per youthful driver.
Enforcing Serving Intoxicated Patrons Law: Using undercover police officers
to enforce the State law against serving alcohol to intoxicated bar and restaurant
patrons reduces alcohol-related crash fatalities by an estimated 11%. It would
cost an estimated $0.30 per licensed driver and save about $20 per licensed
Potential Savings from Further Prevention Efforts
A number of additional strategies can mitigate the harm from impaired driving.
The following paragraphs estimate the potential savings, in Arkansas prices,
if other proven impaired driving prevention measures were widely implemented
Graduated Licensing: Graduated licensing is a three-stage program that involves
a learners permit, intermediate (provisional) license, and full licensure.
To advance between stages, young drivers are required to demonstrate responsible
driving behavior. Graduated licensing with a midnight curfew could reduce youth
fatalities by at least 5% and total alcohol-related fatalities by 2%. If implemented,
savings could amount to an estimated $400 per youthful driver in Arkansas. The
value of the mobility lost by youth would be a large portion of the estimated
$60 cost per youthful driver.
Server Training: Server training programs provide education and training to
servers of alcoholic beverages with the goal of altering their serving practices
to prevent patron intoxication and alcohol-impaired driving. Generally, 40%
to 60% of intoxicated patrons drive after consuming alcohol in bars, clubs or
restaurants. A statewide, full-day, mandatory, face-to-face server training
program with active management support has the potential to reduce nighttime
DUI injury crashes by 17%. Implementing such a program costs an estimated $60
per licensed driver and saves about $200 in crash costs per licensed driver.
Interventions Targeting Repeat Offenders
Not many repeat offenders are deterred by broad impaired driving laws. Four
alternative sanctioning approaches have proven especially effective at reducing
Automobile Impoundment: Impounding vehicles after conviction for DUI or driving
while suspended can decrease recidivism by an estimated 38% and DUI crashes
by about 4%. Overall, per vehicle impounded, enforcement of this law would cost
Arkansas approximately $700 and save on average $3,500.
Ignition Interlock: Breathtesting ignition interlocks are designed to prevent
anyone with a positive BAC from starting or driving a car. Attaching an interlock
to a car for a year after its operator is convicted of driving while intoxicated
would reduce recidivism by an estimated 75% and alcoholrelated fatalities by
7%. It would save almost $6,700 per vehicle equipped. Including equipment and
case management costs, interlock costs would total approximately $800 per vehicle.
Electronically Monitored House Arrest: Electronic monitoring is an alternative
to incarcerating repeat offenders. It provides assurance of an offenders
presence within an assigned area. Monitoring programs attach a device to the
wrist or ankle that relays a continuous signal to a computer and also may require
offenders to relay a breath test when prompted by a random phone call. Implementation
of this program could decrease recidivism by an estimated 31%, causing DUI crashes
to decrease by about 3% in Arkansas. Per person arrested, the program would
cost nearly $1,200 and could avoid an estimated $4,400 in crash costs and almost
$1,510 in incarceration costs.
Intensive Probation Supervision with Treatment: Intensive probation supervision
with treatment is an alternative to incarcerating repeat offenders. This early
intervention program seeks to reduce alcohol-impaired driving by addressing
repeat offenders drinking habits and provides intensive individual counseling
and monitoring. Implementation of this program in Arkansas could decrease recidivism
by an estimated 48%, causing DUI crashes to decrease by 4%. Typically, per person
arrested, this program costs approximately $1,200 and can avoid an estimated
$4,900 in crash costs and $420 in incarceration costs.
Prevention Savings of Occupant Protection Measures
Along with impaired driving interventions, a number of important occupant protection
strategies reduce impaired driving and other highway injuries.
Primary Safety Belt Law: Passage of a primary safety belt law in Arkansas would
allow law enforcement to stop and ticket a driver for nonuse of a safety belt
without requiring the driver to be cited for or have committed another offense.
Unbelted occupants account for 86% of impaired driving fatalities in Arkansas.
Savings could amount to an estimated $3,900 per new belt user. If enforced with
frequent belt-use checkpoints, the value of temporary discomfort experienced
by some new belt wearers and travel delay costs at checkpoints are the large
majority of the laws estimated $240 cost per new belt user.
Child Safety Seat Law: Infants and children who are seated in places other
than the back seat account for nearly 44% of child fatalities in Arkansas, and
those seated in the back seat without proper restraints account for an additional
30% of child fatalities. Drinking drivers are more likely than other drivers
to transport children improperly. Traveling in a child safety seat reduces the
chance of a crash death by an estimated 71% for infants and 54% for children
aged 1-4. Child safety seat laws like Arkansas typically reduce occupant
fatalities of children age 4 and under by approximately 15% and their alcohol-involved
deaths by a similar amount. The average child seat costs approximately $45 but
avoids nearly $1,400 in injury costs.
Motorcycle Helmet Use Law: Statewide, 5% of alcohol-related crash fatalities
are motorcyclists; 72% of these motorcyclists were unhelmeted. A motorcycle
helmet law that covers all riders in Arkansas could save lives and prevent devastating
and debilitating head injuries. Wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces a riders
risk of death by 29% and nonfatal injury risk by 15%. On average, helmets cost
about $180 in Arkansas and prevent nearly $3,000 in injury costs.