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DUI Numbers Down, But 40 Million Americans Still Drive While Intoxicated Every Year

posted 12:01 AM EST, Fri December 10, 2010

The bad news is 40 million Americans drove a car while drunk or high last year. The good news - this is actually a decline from the numbers that got behind a wheel while buzzed just a few years ago.

Some facts and findings from the just released Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMSHA) report on driving under the influence include:

  • Over the last year, 13.2% of the population drove a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol – some 31 million people. This is a decline from the average from 2002 to 2005, when 14.6% of the population drive drunk at least once in a year.
  • Over the last year, 4.3% (roughly 10 million) people drove at least once while under the influence of drugs. This figure is also down from the 2002 to 2005 average of 4.8%
  • Natives of Wisconsin are most likely to drink and drive 23.7% and those from Rhode Island are most likely high behind the wheel (7.8%). The state with the least drunken drivers is Utah, with only 7.4% of state residents having driven last year while intoxicated.
  • Drivers aged 16 to 25 were far more likely to drive while intoxicated than drivers over the age of 25, at 19.5% compared to 11.8%

In commenting on the figures, SAMHSA Director, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. said, "Some progress has been made in reducing the levels of drunk and drugged driving through education, enhanced law enforcement and public outreach efforts. However, the nation must continue to work to prevent this menace and confront these dangerous drivers in an aggressive way."

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  • DUI Numbers Down: Last year, 13.2% of Americans drove while drunk, this is down from 14.6% just a few years ago.
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