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One in Five Americans Has Driven Drunk in the Past Year

Posted in Drunk Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately eight percent of all drivers—or 17 million people—have driven while under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.

Conducted in 2008, the survey shows that 20 percent of people age 16 and over admitted to driving within two hours of drinking alcohol. Two-thirds of those ages 16 and over had driven drunk within the past 30 days. This means that about 8.5 million people drove drunk within a period of 30 days, up from 73.7 million in 2004.

Another 8 percent of people—especially males between the ages of 21 and 24—said they were given a ride from a driver who was most likely drunk. Among the 21 to 24 age bracket, 24 percent said they had been given a ride from someone who seemed drunk.

However, four out of five people, or 81 percent, said that they thought drunk driving was a major threat to public safety.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that more needs to be done to get drunk drivers off the road and educate drivers about the dangerous consequences of driving under the influence.

The United States government is spending about $13 million on an advertising campaign in an effort to curb drunk driving over Labor Day weekend.

Source: Associated Press, Natasha T. Metzler, Government Estimates Millions Drive Drunk in US, August 25, 2010