Information was obtained on motor vehicle crashes investigated by the NC State Highway Patrol within a one-year period. Blood alcohol concentration (bac) data from breath tests, as well as the officer's opinion of driver sobriety, were considered. The analyses support previous studies of the relationship between alcohol and crash characteristics. In addition, analyses were conducted on only those cases for which a bac was available. Crash factors controlled for included speed prior to crash, type of crash (single or multivehicle), safety belt usage, driver age and sex, and model of car. It was found that, independent of other factors associated with driver injury, the higher the bac, the greater the probability that the driver would be seriously injured or killed. It appears that, independent of legal sanctions, higher bac's are associated with greater "punishment," that is, more severe injury in any resulting crash. The findings are supported by animal research investigating the effects of ethanol on response to injury.