A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that two percent of American adults have admitted to driving drunk at least once over the prior month. This amounts to about 4.2 million people.
The study, which was published August 7th in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, analyzed data gathered from a 2012 annual federal government survey. The CDC researchers led by Amy Jewett found “an estimated 4.2 million adults reported at least one alcohol-impaired driving episode in the preceding 30 days, resulting in an estimated 121 million episodes [per year].”
The study also found that men aged 21 to 34 made up of one third of all drunk driving episodes and men, overall, made up 80 percent of drunk drivers.
According to the study, “binge drinkers,” which amount to four percent of adults, accounted for two-thirds of all drunk driving incidents. Binge drinkers included men who consume five or more drinks on one occasion and women who consume four or more drinks on one occasion.
The study noted that drunk driving rates vary amongst states. The highest rates came from the Midwest. The was not a surprise to the researchers who acknowledged, “persons living in the Midwest have consistently reported higher alcohol-impaired driving rates than those living in other regions.”
It also seems that those who drive drunk are more likely to engage in other risky driving behavior. People who reported to sometimes not wearing their seatbelt were three-times more likely to drive under the influence than those who consistently buckle-up.
The CDC study serves as a reminder that it is not enough to not drive drunk, but that we need to be aware that drunk drivers are out there and that we need to engage in defensive driving every time we get in our cars.