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Drunk driving in America: By the numbers
Rates of drunk and drugged driving are on the decline, but they're still not low enough
 
A policeman gives a breathalyzer test; Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving -- 23.7 percent.
A policeman gives a breathalyzer test; Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving -- 23.7 percent.
Corbis

'Tis the season for New Year's Eve parties, and as always, there's the real risk of drunken revelers getting behind the wheel. According to a new survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over the course of an average year, 30 million Americans drive drunk, while 10 million drive under the influence of drugs. While those numbers may seem "staggering," they actually represent a small drop in the rate of drunk and drugged driving compared with recent years. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers:

13.2 percent
Proportion of American drivers who have driven drunk during the past year, according to the report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report uses survey data from 2006 to 2009 to conclude that an estimated 30.6 million people have driven drunk.

14.6 percent
Proportion of American drivers who admitted to drunk driving between 2002 and 2005. "The nation as a whole has seen reductions in the rates of drunk driving and drugged driving in recent years; however, each of these behaviors remains a serious problem in the United States," the SAMHSA report finds.

10 million
Number who report they drove drugged between 2006 and 2009. "It doesn't get as much as attention as driving drunk," says Rachelle Dragani in Time. But last year, in motor vehicle accidents in which someone died, a third of those killed tested positive for drugs.

23.7 percent
The rate of drunk driving in Wisconsin, the highest in the country

7.4 percent
The rate of drunk driving in Utah, the lowest in the country

7.8 percent
The rate of drugged driving in Rhode Island, the highest in the country

2.9 percent
The rate of drugged driving in Iowa, the lowest in the country

11.8 percent
Proportion of those over 26 who say they have driven drunk during the past 12 months

Nearly 20 percent
Proportion of drivers aged 16 to 25 who say they've driven drunk during the past 12 months, pointing to a need for continued prevention efforts, the SAMHSA report concludes

12
Number of states that saw a reduction in drunk driving between the two periods studied (2002-2005 and 2006-2009)

Sources: Time, MSNBC, Web MD, CBS News

 

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