The U.S. Department of Transportation is kicking of this year’s campaign against drunk driving with some new data gathered about the habits of drivers when it comes to alcohol.
One piece of data gathered from surveys released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 8 percent of all drivers have driven drunk in the last year.
That translates into around 17 million people when applied to the population of drivers in the U.S.
The NHTSA’s campaign, called “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit, Under Arrest,” focuses on keeping drunk drivers off of the road. The campaign will include a law enforcement crackdown that will run from now until Labor Day.
Police agencies from all over the country will step up DUI enforcement as a part of the campaign. Their efforts will be aided by $13 million in radio and TV advertisements put out by the NHTSA.
“Drunk driving is deadly, it’s against the law, and unfortunately, it’s still a problem,” said Secretary Ray LaHood of the NHTSA.
“With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior.”
According to the survey data collected by the NHTSA, four out of five people said that drunk driving was a major threat to their own life and to the lives of their families. One out of five people had driven a car within two hours of drinking alcohol over the last year.
Another part of the survey made the distinction between those who said that they had driven within two hours of a drink, and those who hadn’t.
Among the first group, it was determined that they drank more frequently than members of the second group. Among members of the first group, a little more than 25 percent of them said that they drank alcoholic beverages three or more days per week.
The survey results were troubling to law enforcement in part because of the habits that it showed among younger people, and especially among younger males.
Those 16 to 20-year-olds that admitted to driving after they drank said that they drank almost six alcoholic drinks in a sitting. This was not necessarily before they drove a car, but rather it was a generalization about their drinking habits.
Nonetheless, in the eyes of the NHTSA, it shows that should a young person make the poor decision to mix drinking and driving, the drinking side of things is likely to be in the extreme.
Drivers aren’t the only concern. The more drinking that goes on, the more likely it is that someone will be a passenger while a drunk driver is at the wheel.
The survey results indicate that 8 percent of the population that is 16 or older rode with a driver who they though might have drunk too much alcohol to drive safely.
Surveys like this are conducted periodically to keep a tab on the public attitude towards drunk driving.