Vital Signs: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults -- United States, 2010

Bergen, Gwen; Rudd, Rose Ann
October 2011
MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report;10/7/2011, Vol. 60 Issue 39, p1351
Background: Alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for nearly 11,000 crash fatalities, or about one third of all crash fatalities in the United States. Methods: CDC analyzed data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey to obtain the prevalence, episodes, and rates of alcohol-impaired driving (defined as driving "when you've had perhaps too much to drink" in the past 30 days) among U.S. adults aged ≥18 years who responded to the survey by landline telephone. Results: In 2010, an estimated 4 million U.S. adult respondents reported at least one episode of alcohol-impaired driving, for an estimated total of approximately 112 million alcohol-impaired driving episodes or 479 episodes per 1,000 adult population. From a peak in 2006, such episodes decreased 30% through 2010. Men accounted for 81% of all episodes with young men aged 21-34 years accounting for 32% of all episodes. Additionally, 85% of alcohol-impaired driving episodes were reported by persons who also reported binge drinking, and the 4.5% of the adult population who reported binge drinking at least four times per month accounted for 55% of all alcohol-impaired driving episodes. Episode rates were nearly four times higher among persons who reported not always wearing seatbelts compared with persons who reported always wearing seatbelts. Conclusions: Rates of self-reported alcohol-impaired driving have declined substantially in recent years. However, rates remain disproportionally high among young men, binge drinkers, and those who do not always wear a seat belt. Implications for Public Health: States and communities should continue current evidence-based strategies, such as sobriety checkpoints and enforcement of 0.08 g/dL blood alcohol concentration laws to deter the public from driving while impaired. Additionally, all states should consider requiring ignition interlocks on the vehicles of all persons convicted of alcohol-impaired driving. States without primary seatbelt laws should consider enacting them to reduce fatalities in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.


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