CDC: Drunken driving among adults occurred 112 million times in 2010
Every day in 2010, adults drank too much alcohol and got behind the wheel almost 300,000 times across the United States, according to a study released Oct. 4 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That adds up to about 112 million incidents of drinking and driving. That figure is down from the 161 million incidents reported in the record-high year of 2006.
“The 4 million adults who drink and drive each year put everyone on the road at risk,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a news release. “In fact, nearly 11,000 people are killed every year in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.”
For the study, the CDC analyzed data from a telephone survey of U.S. adults.
The study also found:
• Men were responsible for 81 percent of drinking-and-driving incidents in 2010.
• Men ages 21 to 34 made up only 11 percent of the U.S. population in 2010, yet were responsible for 32 percent of all episodes of drinking and driving.
• 85 percent of drinking and driving episodes were reported by people who also reported binge drinking. Binge drinking means five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women during a short period of time.
“Drunk driving is a public health problem with far-reaching effects,” says Linda Degutis, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Drunk drivers, who have delayed reaction times and reflexes, put even the most responsible drivers and pedestrians in harm’s way.”
In response to the CDC study, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) called on state legislators to toughen laws requiring motorists convicted of DUI to install ignition interlock devices in their cars. MADD wants every state to mandate that all first-time drunken driving offenders with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent get the devices. Such a device samples a driver’s breath and prevents an engine from starting if the blood-alcohol level is above a certain amount.
In releasing the study, the CDC endorsed ignition interlock devices as a method of reducing drunken driving.
Aside from risking injury or death, drunken drivers face substantially higher auto insurance premiums or cancellation of their auto insurance coverage if they’re convicted of DUI.