Despite massive efforts to curb drunk driving, some 30 million Americans are driving drunk and another 10 million are driving drugged each year, federal officials report.
In fact, in some states the number of drunk and drugged drivers tops 20 percent, according to a report released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Other SAMHSA officials noted that thousands of people are killed and maimed yearly by drunk and drugged drivers, even though the entertainment industry, in some movies such as Due Date, portrays drunk and drugged driving as “harmless fun.”
According to the survey, an average of 13.2 percent of people aged 16 and older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent drove under the influence of an illegal drug in the past year.
In addition, levels of drunk and drugged driving varied among age groups, with younger drivers much more likely to drive while impaired. Drivers aged 16 to 25 had a much higher rate of drunk driving, compared with those aged 26 and older (19.5 percent vs. 11.8 percent). Those aged 16 to 25 also had a higher rate of drugged driving than those aged 26 and older (11.4 percent vs. 2.8 percent).