Published on Oct 03, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

Teen Drunk Driving Rates Have Fallen

teen drunk driving rates

Teen drinking and driving rates have fallen by 54 percent in the past two decades, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, almost a million high school teens ages 16 and over still drove after drinking alcohol in 2011.

The report estimates that high school teenagers are responsible for approximately 2.4 million instances of drunk driving each month. Furthermore, it found that younger drivers are 17 times more likely to die in an accident that involves alcohol. Other findings included:

  • Over 10 percent of teens admitted to drunk driving in 2011, compared to 22.3 percent in 1991.
  • Male students were more likely to drink and drive than female students.
  • Approximately seven percent of 16-year-olds reported drinking and driving. This increased to 11.5 percent among 17-year-olds.
  • Of the students who admitted to drinking and driving, 84.6 percent also reported binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks in a row).

The study authors found that driving in general has decreased among teenagers in the past decade and this may have played a part in lowering teen drunk driving rates. They also believe that stricter drunk driving laws are a factor. These include:

  • Raising the minimum drinking age to 21 in all U.S. states
  • Zero tolerance laws that make it illegal for teens to have any amount of alcohol in their system while driving
  • The increase in graduated driver's licensing programs
"CDC: Teen drinking and driving rates cut in half." CNN.com. October 2, 2012.
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