Self-reports of teen drinking and driving decreasing: study

October 10, 2012

Atlanta – The percentage of high school students 16 and older who self-reported drinking and driving decreased to 10.3 percent from 22.3 between 1991 and 2011, according to a study released Oct. 2 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System on teens’ self-reported drinking and driving behaviors. Students were asked if they had driven a vehicle after drinking alcohol one or more times in the past 30 days. Among the findings:

  • High school teens drive after drinking about 2.4 million times per month.
  • Among the 41 states with available data, the state with the lowest percentage of self-reported drinking and driving in 2011 was Utah, at 4.6 percent. The state with the highest percentage was North Dakota, at 14.5 percent.
  • 84.6 percent of students who admitted to drinking and driving said they binge drink, which was defined as having five or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours.

Researchers recommended increasing intervention efforts such as enforcing minimum-legal-drinking-age and zero-tolerance laws.