New research shows need for enforcement campaigns against drunk driving

Eight percent of all drivers -- representing approximately 17 million people -- admitted to driving drunk at least once during the past year, according to survey results (.pdf file) released Aug. 25 by the Department of Transportation.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration researchers conducted the survey from September through December 2008 by phone to 6,999 respondents 16 and older. Survey results show:

  • 1 out of every 5 Americans drove within two hours of drinking alcohol in the past year.
  • 28 percent of drinking drivers consumed alcoholic beverages three or more days a week, compared with 10 percent of drivers who drank but did not drive afterwards.
  • 8 percent of people 16 and older said they had ridden with a driver they thought may have consumed too much alcohol to drive safely in the past year.
DOT officials referred to the study during a kick-off event for its annual Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. campaign. The law enforcement campaign, which runs Aug. 20 through Sept. 6, involves thousands of police agencies from across the nation.

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