Drunk driving is down -- nearly 30% from its peak in 2006, if Americans responding to a recent survey can be believed.
Even so, an estimated 4 million Americans still admitted to at least once having operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, resulting in about 112 million "alcohol impaired driving episodes" and thousands of fatalities, wrote researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a paper published Tuesday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The team, based at the CDC, used telephone survey data to compile drunk driving statistics for 2010. They found that men accounted for 81% of the reported drunk driving events; young men between 21 and 34 years of age were involved in 32%. How much people drank was a big factor: 85% of impaired driving incidents were reported by people who admitted binge drinking and 55% were reported by the mere 4.5% of those polled who said they binge drank at least four times a month.
People who said they didn't always wear their seat belts said they drove drunk at a rate four times higher than those who said they always bucked up. Midwesterners had the highest rate of drunk driving, as well as the highest percentage of binge drinking, the paper reported.