Drunk Driving Statistics in Iowa

Drunk Driving Statistics in Iowa

Drunk driving statistics in Iowa show that impaired driving continues to be a real problem, but one that is decreasing. According to the latest Traffic Safety Facts from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2008, 27% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved at least one driver who had been drinking. In 2017, that percentage dropped to 18% of all traffic fatalities. Furthermore, in 2008, 111 people in the Hawkeye State died in a drunk driving accident. That number decreased to 101 drunk driving fatalities in 2017.

Those numbers are pretty amazing, when you consider that, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation, there were nearly a half-million more licensed drivers on the road in 2017 then there were in 2008.

Like every other state in the country, law enforcement officers can charge you with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Iowa when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher. In 2008, 8% of all traffic fatalities involved a driver with a BAC of .15 or more, or twice the legal limit. In 2017, 10% of all traffic fatalities involved a driver with a BAC of .15 or more. So many drivers are drunker than ever.

The Problem of Repeat Offenders

A Des Moines Register analysis of more than a decade of Iowa court records involving intoxicated drivers shows some alarming statistics with regard to repeat offenders:

  • Since 2005, 222 drivers faced charges of vehicular homicide while intoxicated, and nearly one-third of those had previously been arrested for DWI. Several of them had been arrested multiple times.
  • At least 13 of those 222 drivers were caught driving drunk again after they had been charged with or convicted of killing someone while driving under the influence.
  • Law enforcement officers charged more than 11,300 people with intoxicated driving-third or subsequent offense, meaning they had been charged with driving while intoxicated at least three times in the past dozen years.

Iowa’s Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties

Some say the key to reducing recidivism in Iowa is increasing the penalties for drunk driving. Some want to focus on increasing the penalties for a first offense. Others want to permanently revoke the license of repeat offenders. Others want a mix between the two. So far, nothing has made its way through the legislature.

The current penalties include:

First Offense OWI

For your first OWI offense, you anywhere from 48 hours to one year behind bars, and a fine of up to $1,250. The state will revoke your driver’s license from 180 days to one year.

Second Offense OWI

For a second OWI offense, you face seven days to two years behind bars and a fine of $1,875 to $6,250. Depending on your individual circumstances, your license may be revoked for up to two years.

Third or Subsequent OWI

If you commit a third or subsequent OWI offense, you face up to five years in prison and a fine of $3,225 to $9,375. Depending on your individual case, your license may be revoked for up to six years.

Mandatory Substance Abuse Evaluation

Iowa law requires anyone convicted of operating while under the influence (OWI) to undergo a substance abuse consultation. You may then be ordered to participate in a substance abuse prevention program.

Ignition Interlock Devices

Iowa law requires you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle for a specified amount of time based on your level of OWI offense. If this is your first offense and your BAC was under .15, you do not have to get the IID installed, but will have to wait out a revocation period. All other OWI offenders must install get a temporary restricted license and install an ignition interlock device. You are only eligible to obtain the temporary restricted license after you have served your specified license revocation period.

You must have your ignition interlock device installed by a state-approved vendor such as ALCOLOCK. The actual installation appointment will take about an hour. That includes the time it takes for the technician to install the device in your car or truck, as well as the time it takes to calibrate the device to you, specifically, and train you in how to properly use it. Before you leave, you will schedule your first monthly maintenance visit. Those visits typically take about 20 minutes. During that time, we transmit the information the device has recorded to the Department of Public Safety.

Ignition Interlock Device Installation Locations in Iowa

If you need to get an IID installed on your vehicle, ALCOLOCK has a number of ignition interlock device installation locations across Iowa. From Davenport to Sioux City, we’ve got you covered. To schedule an installation, call a service center, directly, or call ALCOLOCK at

(866) 700-9300. You can also fill out our contact form and someone will get back with you shortly.

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