In a study published earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the CDC says in last month alone, 4 million have gotten behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. In this study they found that close to 2% of adults admitted to driving while intoxicated at least once over the prior month, which translates to about 121 million episodes of drunk driving per year.
This study found “typical” drunk drivers” to be young males with a history of binge drinking. According to the study, 4% of adults fall into the category of “binge drinkers” (men who consume 5 or more drinks at one occasion, or women who have 4 or more). They further note that men aged 21 to 34 made up a third of all drunk driving episodes, while men made up 80% percent of impaired drivers overall.
Rates varied widely between states, and were often tied to a state’s drunk-driving laws, the CDC said. Evidence suggests that drunk driving fatalities can be drastically reduced if states get tough on driving under the influence. Enforcing breath-alcohol laws, upping taxes on booze and cracking down on underage drinking all contribute to less people getting behind the wheel when they’re impaired. Parents can also do their part, since problem drinking behaviors often start at an early age. It’s important for parents to set strict rules and enforce a zero tolerance policy for drinking.
Minimizing this problem could save countless lives, the CDC researchers said, since “alcohol-impaired driving crashes have accounted for about one third of all U.S. crash fatalities in the past two decades.”