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 |  Sep 01 2010, 12:04 PM

You’d think that with all of the public service announcements, all of the shocking statistics and all of the cringe-worthy footage you can find on YouTube, drivers would think twice about getting behind the wheel drunk. Does it surprise you that almost 12,000 people are still killed annually from alcohol-related accidents? Just as surprising is a new study out by the Department of Transportation that shows that one in five drivers admit to driving within two hours of drinking.

The study comes up with some pretty revealing facts. This includes that the total number of drinking/driving trips in the past month is estimated to be at 85.5 million (this is up from 73.7 million in 2004) and it reverses a trend that has been on a decline since 1995. It also found that four out of five people see drunk driving as a major threat to the safety of themselves and their family.

Other stats pulled from the study were that eight percent of people accepted a ride with someone who they thought was too drunk to drive, and of those, 24 percent of males aged 21-24 were more at risk of riding with a drunk driver. Other facts to note were that drivers who drink were three times as likely as drivers who don’t to ride with someone they thought had consumed too much alcohol. For non-drivers who drink, they were eight times as likely to do so.

Sadly, this survey found that eight percent of all drivers (approximately 17 million people) have driven drunk at least once in the past year. For those caught driving under the influence in the past two years, about 1 percent of those were aged 16 or older, with five percent of men 21-24 years of age arrested. When questioned about curbing drinking and driving, 63 percent say that alcohol interlocks in vehicles would be very effective at helping to stop this behavior.

[Source: Consumer Reports]