Men Much More Likely Than Women to Drive Drunk

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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.

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