NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Fewer Arrests For Drunken Driving

June 14, 1999

Since 1986, the number of people arrested for driving while intoxicated has dropped dramatically, even while the number of licensed drivers was increasing. That is the conclusion reached in a report being issued today by the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

  • Drunken driving arrests declined about 18 percent from 1986 to 1997 -- to a total of about 1.5 million.
  • The rate of arrests fell from 1,124 per 100,000 licensed drivers in 1986 to 809 in 1997.
  • Since older drivers are less likely to be arrested for drunken driving, the decline could be attributed partly to the aging of licensed drivers, the report speculated.
  • The number of drunken drivers on parole, in jail or in prison increased from 270,000 in 1986 to 513,000 in 1997.

Source: Irvin Molotsky, "U.S. Cites Drop in Arrests for Drunken Driving," New York Times, June 14, 1999.


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