Here’s a sobering thought – imagine every time you get behind the wheel over 4 million people driving drunk are sharing the road with you. According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that’s exactly how many people have admitted driving drunk in a single month alone.
The numbers only get scarier when averaged out over an entire year. Conservatively, the annual totals translate into an estimated 121 million potential incidents.
Based on data analyzed in 2012, the CDC study goes on to categorize “typical” drunk drivers as young males with a history of “binge drinking”. Furthermore, the findings showed that men in the 21 to 34 age group accounted for one third of all drunk driving incidents, while men, in general, were more likely to be intoxicated behind the wheel, making up to 80 percent of impaired drivers on the road.
Binge drinking has grown more prevalent among young adults and the college-age crowd in recent years, which has become a cause of concern for experts like Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief in psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., and a specialist in alcohol abuse issues. Krakower believes “binge drinking is extremely problematic amongst young adults” and considers it “a leading factor in alcohol-impaired driving”.
In fact, 39 percent of college students in 2013 reported they had engaged in binge drinking in the previous month. Even more alarming is that statistics have shown a link between underage drinking and a serious alcohol problem in adults.
According to the report, 4 percent of adults – men who often consume at least 5 or more alcoholic drinks at one occasion, or women who indulge in 4 or more drinks per occasion, fall into the “binge drinking” category. CDC researchers point out that the same 4 percent constitutes nearly two-thirds of all drunk driving incidents in the country.
However, it must be noted that rates tend to vary considerably from state to state, depending on their drunk-driving laws. For instance, according to the CDC, the Midwest has consistently reported a higher incidence of alcohol-impaired driving than other regions, which would explain its poor showing in terms of drunk driving.
Countless lives could be saved per the CDC, by curbing the problem since “alcohol-impaired driving crashes have accounted for about one third of all U.S. crash fatalities in the past two decades.”
Compounding the problem and adding to the number of deaths and serious injuries as a result of a crash comes from the fact that individuals who claim they don’t always wear their seat belt were three times more likely to drive a vehicle while impaired than those who regularly buckle up.
Remember – driving drunk is a matter of choice. If you choose to, you’re not only putting your own life at risk, but the lives of all those sharing the road with you. The consequences of a crash you cause could be devastating. And, if you’re pulled over by a cop or by a bunch of cops at a sobriety check point while driving impaired, that could cost you a bundle as well. So think twice before you drink and drive.
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Have you ever driven drunk and regretted it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.