The CDC reports Tuesday that 112 million instances in which adults drove after drinking occurred in 2010. That’s 30 percent fewer than five years ago, the report notes, but still represents 300,000 occurrences per day. Alcohol-related car accidents killed 11,000 people in 2009, according to the CDC.
Men account for 81 percent of those who drink and drive; young men (ages 21-34) alone account for 32 percent of drinking while driving episodes.
Binge drinking and drinking-and-driving go hand in hand; according to the report, 85 percent of those who reported they’d driven after drinking also reported they’d binged on alcohol. “Binge” drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women during a short time.
The CDC says the best strategies for combating drinking and driving are establishing sobriety checkpoints, keeping legal drinking ages high (21) and employing ignition devices that prevent people who’ve been convicted of driving while intoxicated from operating their vehicle when they’ve been drinking.
As for individuals, the CDC reminds us to establish a designated driver before going out drinking; if you don’t have one, call a cab or walk rather than get behind the wheel after drinking. Don’t let your friends drive if they’ve been drinking, the report advises. And be sure to buckle up and have your passengers do so, too, no matter how short a distance you’re traveling in the car.