A new study has revealed that about 4.2 million American adults practiced drunk driving just last month. What this means is that 2 percent (2%) of US drivers got at the wheel when they knew they shouldn’t have at least once this past July.
The study was based on paper written by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in 2012, and informs that most drunk drivers are young men who have a history of binge drinking.
Binge drinkers are described by health experts as being men who indulge in five (5) or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion or in one sitting, and women who indulge in 4 (four) or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion or in one sitting.
The problem is more serious than it may seem at first glace as the CDC warns that “alcohol-impaired driving crashes have accounted for about one third of all U.S. crash fatalities in the past two decades”.
Dr. Scott Krakower, an expert in alcohol abuse issues and psychiatry from Zucker Hillside Hospital (New York), agrees with the CDC researchers. He gave a statement explaining that binge drinking is very popular among the nation’s youth, and insists that people shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if they notice that they have a drinking problem.
He went on to add that the bottom line of this argument is a simple one: if someone is drinking, they should refrain from driving a motor vehicle as this would put innocent lives in danger.
For the new study, Amy Jewett, CDC investigator, led some of her colleagues to take a closer look at the 2012 survey. They found that 4.2 million American adults admitted to having “at least one alcohol-impaired driving episode in the preceding 30 days, resulting in an estimated 121 million episodes [per year]”.
An interesting observation is that drunk driving rates varied widely from state to state, and were often determined by the local drunk-driving laws. The most dangerous place turned out to be the Midwest, which should not come as a surprise as the research team informs that people in the Midwest have always reported a higher rate of alcohol-impaired driving, compared to people living in other parts of the country.
The experts also described the typical drunk driver as being young, male, and a binge drinker. The survey showed that men with the age between 21 and 34 were responsible for a third of all incidents involving drunk driving. What’s more, men in general were responsible for 80 percent (80%) of all incidents involving drunk driving.
The researchers said that while only 4 percent (4%) of American adults fit into the “binge drinking” category, overall they’re responsible for almost two thirds of all incidents involving drunk driving.
Dr. Krakower informed that binge drinking is a huge problem among college-age kids and young adults, and the main factor “in alcohol-impaired driving”. He explained that 39 percent (39%) of all college students admitted to binge drinking in the month preceding the study, in 2013.
He added that the data showed that underage drinking can often turn into a serious alcohol-related problem during adulthood.
The typical drunk drivers were also found to be people who admitted to not always wearing their seat belt. This group was three (3) times more likely to get at the wheel drunk, compared to American adults who regularly strapped themselves in.
The study was published earlier this week, on Friday (Auguts 7, 2015), in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.