Alcohol-Impaired Driving Down by 30 Percent in U.S.

Number of episodes, however, still quite substantial

TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. adults drive after drinking "a bit too much" about a third less often than they did in 2006; still, about 1.8 percent of adults (four million people) reported alcohol-impaired driving in 2010, according to a report in the Oct. 4 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Gwen Bergen, Ph.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues compiled data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey to describe the scope of alcohol-impaired driving among adults 18 and older in the United States.

The researchers found that four million adults reported driving while under the influence, a total of about 112 million episodes of alcohol-impaired driving last year (479 episodes per 1,000 adult population). This represents a decrease of 30 percent from 2006. Men made up 81 percent of alcohol-impaired drivers, while 85 percent of those who reported driving while alcohol impaired also reported binge drinking. Those who do not wear seat belts reported alcohol-impaired driving episodes four times more often than seat belt wearers.

"Rates of self-reported alcohol-impaired driving have declined substantially in recent years. However, rates remain disproportionally high among young men, binge drinkers, and those who do not always wear a seat belt," the authors write. "States and communities should continue current evidence-based strategies, such as sobriety checkpoints and enforcement of 0.08 g/dL blood alcohol concentration laws to deter the public from driving while impaired."

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