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The Last Time They Got Drunk, 12% of Binge Drinkers Drove a Car

posted 08:24 AM EST, Wed September 02, 2009
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The Last Time They Got Drunk, 12% of Binge Drinkers Drove a Car © Photo by Rich Lem

According to the latest findings by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 12% of binge drinkers admit to driving after their last binge drinking session. They say that more than half of these people got drunk at a bar or a restaurant and that by enforcing existing laws that limit alcohol service amounts, the numbers of drunk drivers on the roads could fall substantially.

The Researchers at CDC found a group of binge drinkers, 14 000 of them, and asked them one simple question:

"The last time you got drunk (binge drank), did you drive within 2 hours of drinking?"

A dangerous 12% of those asked answered yes.

Lead study researcher, Dr. Timothy Naimi, says that binge drinking causes a majority of the 11 000 alcohol related traffic fatalities in America each year; and that if more than 10% of binge drinkers are getting into cars after drinking, "It's a pretty awesome number when you link it up with the number of binge drinking episodes in the U.S."

The researchers also found that:

  • More than 50% of binge drinkers reported drinking at a restaurant or bar

  • Of those that drank in a restaurant or bar, more than half consumed in excess of 7 drinks and 25% consumed 10 or more drinks.

Naimi says that although laws exist that restrict the amount of alcohol people can drink in bars or restaurants, that these laws are widely ignored. He says that his study results show just how much influence alcohol serving establishments have (or could have, would they enforce the law) in protecting the public from drivers under the influence.

David Jernigan, a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University commented on the study results, saying "The research shows that driving after binge drinking is a preventable problem."

Jernigan says that holding restaurant and bar owners liable for the harms done by intoxicated restaurant and bar customers and increasing server training would go a long way towards reducing the extent of the problem.

Problematically, at present, servers who depend on tips for primary income have a financial disincentive to stopping people from drinking heavily.

The full study results can be found in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine http://www.ajpm-online.net/

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