A recent poll conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a remarkable decline in self-reported incidents of drunk driving.
According to an article from the Associated Press, episodes of drunk driving are at their lowest numbers since 1993, and have fallen more than 30 percent in the last five years.
Experts suggest that the decreasing frequency of drunk driving incidents may not be a result of a collective desire to drive more safely.
Instead, some observers speculate that the struggling economy has led many people to stay at home and drink for cheap, rather than paying premium prices at a bar. With more people staying away from bars, there are fewer drinkers driving home.
The CDC statistics, which were compiled by surveying more than 200,000 Americans on the phone, showed that roughly two percent of all Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous month.
While the two percent seems like a low figure, it still represents about four million drunk drivers on the roads in any given month.
Of this two percent, roughly 60 percent admitted to driving drunk just once in the last month, but a healthy percentage of respondents claimed to have driven drunk multiple times in the last few weeks.
By expanding these monthly figures to an annual estimate, the CDC guessed that there were 112 million individual episodes of drunk driving in 2010.
In other words, there are roughly 300,000 people who are driving under the influence of alcohol on a typical day in the United States.
While these numbers seem discouraging, they represent a significant decrease from past numbers. Take, for example, 1993, when more than 160 million people admitted to driving drunk during that calendar year.
Of course, while overall drunk driving figures are down, some populations remain more apt to drive drunk than others.
According to the poll, men between the ages of 21 and 34 were more likely than any other demographic to drive drunk.
While men between 21 and 34 only account for 11 percent of the country’s population, they are responsible for 32 percent of all drunk driving incidents.
Of course, not every drunk driver is arrested for a DUI. In fact, only a small percentage of drunk drivers will ever be arrested for their actions.
Nevertheless, the relatively low odds of being arrested for a DUI should not prevent people from finding designated drivers, or simply taking a cab.
Drunk driving still causes tens of thousands of traffic fatalities each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accidents still claim an American’s life every 48 minutes.
So, while drunk driving is becoming less popular, it remains a serious concern for innocent people on American roads.