Index: Health / Subcategory: Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drugs

Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities

Date updated: 01/20/2013

The United States Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System defines Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) as police-reported accidents in which at least one person dies within 30 days of the crash. A motor vehicle accident is considered to be alcohol-related [pdf] if at least one driver or non-occupant (pedestrian or pedalcyclist) involved has a positive Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) value.

The Colorado State Patrol reports that vehicle crashes involving alcohol or drugs are more severe, result in more deaths, involve higher speeds and passengers who often do not wear seatbelts. The presence of alcohol is determined by measuring the BAC of the driver or passengers at the crash. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System defines a impairment as a BAC of 0.01- 0.07 g/dL (gram of alcohol per deciliter of blood) and intoxication as a BAC of 0.08 g/ dL or greater.

What this chart shows: Percentage of Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Alcohol - United States, Colorado, & Larimer County, 2002-2011

Data Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System - Searchable Database

See data table

What the above data tell us:

From 2002 to 2011, national percentages of alcohol-related fatalities fluctuated between 23% and 29%. Colorado's percentages were more variable ranging from 23% to a high of 39% in 2011.

The percentages of alcohol-related vehicle fatalities in Larimer County fluctuated more widely, with the peak occurring in 2011 (42%) and the low occurring in 2004 (13%). One possibility for large fluctuations locally is the small sample size in Larimer County, which can cause percentages to change dramatically. For example, between 2002 and 2011, the number of alcohol-related fatalities fluctuated between 4 and 12. (See data table)

What this chart shows: Motor Vehicle Accident Fatality & Alcohol-Related Fatality Rates (per 100,000), Larimer County Compared to National Targets, 2002-2011

Data Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System - Searchable Database

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Healthy People 2010 included two motor vehicle-related objectives: 1) reduce deaths and injuries caused by alcohol- and drug-related motor vehicle crashes to 4.0 per 100,000 population; and 2) reduce deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes to 9.2 per 100,000 population.

Between 2002 and 2006, Larimer County's total motor vehicle accident fatality rates were higher than the national target rate of 9.2 per 100,000 population, with vehicle fatalities peaking in 2003. Since 2007, Larimer County met the Healthy People 2010 objective of 9.2 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Local alcohol-related motor vehicle accident fatality rates fluctuated between 2002 and 2011, with a high of 4.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2003 and a low of 1.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. Larimer County achieved the national standard of 4.0 deaths per 100,000 in eight of the last ten years shown above.

In 2010, the Healthy People objectives were updated and are now referred to as Healthy People 2020. Only one objective was included in the update - to reduce the number of deaths causes by motor vehicle crashes to 12.4 per 100,000 population. Larimer County met that objective in 2011 (7.0 deaths per 100,000 population).

Additional Information:

Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Industry Standards or Targets:

Healthy People 2010

Healthy People 2020

Data Tables:

Percentage of Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving Alcohol

 

 

United States

Colorado

Larimer County

# Accidents Involving Alcohol

Percent of Total

# Accidents Involving Alcohol

Percent of Total

# Accidents Involving Alcohol

Percent of Total

2002

10,593 25% 248 33% 10 29%

2003

10,363 24% 212 33% 12 26%

2004

9,890 23% 155 23% 4 13%

2005

10,462 24% 156 26% 7 26%

2006

10,540 25% 147 27% 8 29%

2007

11,013 27% 181 33% 10 40%

2008

10,550 28% 148 27% 5 19%

2009

9,611 28% 158 34% 10 37%

2010

8,409 26% 105 23% 4 25%

2011

7,944 29% 153 39% 7 33%

See chart

Return to Text

Motor Vehicle Accident Rates per 100,000 Residents in Larimer County

Population

Alcohol- Related
MVA Rate

Healthy People 2020 Goal (Alcohol-Related)

Total MVA Rate

Healthy People 2020 Goal (MVA)

2002

266,789 3.7 4.0 12.7 9.2

2003

269,061 4.5 4.0 17.1 9.2

2004

273,883 1.5 4.0 11.0 9.2

2005

276,755 2.5 4.0 9.8 9.2

2006

282,052 2.8 4.0 9.9 9.2

2007

288,244 3.5 4.0 8.7 9.2

2008

291,906 1.7 4.0 8.9 9.2

2009

294,970 3.4 4.0 9.2 9.2

2010

295,888 1.4 4.0 5.4 9.2

Healthy People 2010 Goal (Alcohol-Related)

Healthy People 2010 Goal (MVA)

2011

298,870 3.0 None 7.0 12.4

See chart