Economy may be linked to decrease in DUI car accidents

The economy may be affecting the number of motor vehicle accidents related to driving while under the influence. The decreases are being recorded across the country, including Albany, New York.

That report issued by the Centers for Disease Control indicated that drunken driving accidents have decreased by 30 percent over the last five years. In 2010, it showed the lowest number of incidents in nearly 20 years.

There is every reason to believe that people are still consuming alcohol, but the state of the economy may be influencing where people drink. Instead of visiting bars, nightclubs and restaurants people appear to be choosing less expensive locations like staying at home to save money. This has led to a decrease in driving which may explain why the incidences of drunk driving have fallen.

The CDC study was based on a telephone survey of 210,000 adults in the United States. Of those questioned, about 1 in 50 respondents admitted to driving drunk at least once in the previous 30 days. That translates into over 4 million people who were driving while drunk sometime during the last year.

Some of the individuals surveyed said they were drinking and driving every day. This means that over 112 million people were driving drunk in the U.S. in 2010 or about 300,000 per day.

Study figures showed that young men between the ages of 21 and 34 were the most likely to be driving drunk. This age group accounts for just 11 percent of the population, but is the cause for 32 percent of driving where alcohol is involved.

The National Traffic Highway Administration has also noted the decrease in drunken driving incidents, reporting that the number of drunk driving related crashes fell by more than 11 thousand from 2008 to 2009.

Despite the decrease, drunk driving remains one of the major factors affecting safety on U.S. roads.

Source: cbsnews.com, "Driving under the influence down: Does economy deserve credit?" David W. Freeman, Oct. 5, 2011

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