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Drunk Driving Stats in Illinois
Thursday, January 20, 2022

Even with the help of rideshares and public transportation, drunk driving is still a significant issue in Illinois and the rest of the country. If you or a loved one has ever been in a collision with a drunk driver or lost a loved one from a crash, you are well aware of the life-altering physical and emotional injuries, as well as financial set back from medical bills and car repairs. This can be infuriating because the crash most likely would not have happened if the driver was not impaired. 

History of Drunk Driving Laws in Illinois

In 1997, Illinois implemented drunk driving laws that reduced fatal accidents. For example, in 1996, a year before the .08 law took effect, 552 people died in drunk driving collisions. In 2020, the latest year for data, only 254 people died in alcohol-related crashes. Learn about more recent DUI and alcohol laws in Illinois here.

Drunk Driving Stats in Illinois

The Illinois Secretary of State’s 2020 DUI Fact Book outlines the following findings:

  • DUI arrests: 27,046

  • DUI arrests who were male: 75%

  • DUI culprits who were under the age of 35: 57%

  • DUI average blood alcohol content (BAC): 0.16

  • Nearly all (91%) of those charged with a DUI lost their right to drive

  • DUI arrest for first-time offenders: 86%

  • 244 drivers under the age of 21 lost their driving privileges due to Zero Tolerance law violations

Blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 is the legal limit in Illinois and the rest of the country for people 21 and over. For commercial drivers, it is .04%. Anyone under 21, it is anything over .00%. The risk of being in a crash begins to climb with a BAC between .04 and .05 and increases rapidly. When a driver’s BAC hits .08, they are 11x more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash than non-drinking drivers. Drivers with a BAC under .08 can still get a DUI if there is evidence they were impaired while driving. Despite popular “sobering up” practices such as drinking coffee, eating a meal, or taking a shower, none of these helps lower your BAC – only time does. 

DUI Fees in Illinois

Not only could drinking and driving lead you to endanger yourself or others on the road, but it could also lead to suspension of driving privileges from 6 months to 3+ years, jail time, public records, and substantial fees. The average cost of a DUI conviction in Illinois is $18,130. This doesn’t add in additional costs associated with a DUI, which could include medical treatments (limitless), in-patient substance abuse programs ($3,500+), legal fees ($5,000+), and compensatory damages awarded to crash survivors ($10,000+).

The Liquor Control Act

This law states that bars and other alcohol-selling establishments could be liable for injuries and damages caused by intoxicated individuals if:

  • The establishment sold alcohol to the intoxicated person.

  • This person caused injuries and damages.

  • Intoxication was at least one major cause of the injuries.

  • The establishment was the proximate cause of intoxication.

Meaning, you may be able to file a claim with the commercial establishment(s) that the driver patronized before the accident. 


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