Men Much More Likely Than Women to Drive Drunk

Men -- especially young males -- are more likely to drive drunk than women. And the numbers are not even close.

Men Much More Likely Than Women to Drive Drunk Photo (cc) by scottfeldstein

Men are behind 80 percent of drunken-driving episodes, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young men, ages 21-34, are involved in 32 percent of all such episodes.

The analysis — “Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults — United States, 2012” — was released today as part of the federal agency’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

It’s based on self-reported data from the CDC’s 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, which the CDC analyzed to estimate statistics on alcohol-impaired driving.

The agency found that an estimated 4.2 million adults reported driving drunk at least once in the preceding 30 days, which the CDC translated into a national drunken-driving rate of 505 episodes per 1,000 people each year.

The drunken-driving rate varies by more than fourfold among states, however. The states with the highest rates are:

  • Hawaii: 995
  • Nebraska: 955
  • Montana: 885

The states with the lowest rates are:

  • Utah: 217
  • New Mexico: 273
  • Oregon: 285

The regional drunken-driving rates are:

  • Midwest: 573
  • South: 525
  • Northeast: 481
  • West: 422

In other findings, 85 percent of drunken-driving episodes are reported by people who also reported binge drinking. And 4 percent of the adult population reported binge drinking at least four times per month.

Dr. Scott Krakower, a New York-based psychiatrist who specializes in substance abuse, tells HealthDay that binge drinking is rampant among young people:

“Individuals should not be afraid to seek help if they have a drinking problem. Bottom line: If one is drinking, they should never drive a motor vehicle. They are putting innocent lives at risk.”

The CDC suggests several “effective interventions” that states and communities could consider to prevent drunken-driving crashes, which account for about one-third of all U.S. crash fatalities in the past two decades.

Recommended interventions include:

  • Expanding the use of publicized sobriety checkpoints.
  • Increasing alcohol taxes.
  • Enforcing laws regarding blood alcohol content and drinking age.

Are you surprised by the CDC’s findings on drunken driving? Sound off in our Forums. It’s also a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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