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Poor economy may contribute to lower drinking and driving numbers

Drinking and driving remains a major cause of car accidents in Louisiana. According to CBS News, Louisiana has the fifth highest rate of drinking and driving incidents in the country with 728 episodes of drinking and driving per 1,000 people. Even though drunken driving remains an issue in communities like Lake Charles, the overall number of drinking and driving incidents across the country has lowered over the last few years and the state of the economy may be a factor.

A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of drinking and driving incidents in the United States fell 30 percent over the past five years and the number of drunken driving incidents that occurred last year is the lowest in 20 years. Alcohol sales are still as high as they have ever been but the state of the economy may be making more people drink more cheaply at home and not in bars and restaurants. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commented on the results by saying, “One possibility is that people are drinking at home more and driving less after drinking.”

The report is based on information derived from a telephone survey conducted last year with 210,000 people. One in 50 people surveyed admitted to driving drunk at least once during the previous month and the majority of people surveyed admitted to drinking and driving at least one time. Some participants admitted to driving drunk every day.

The responses from the survey were used by the CDC to estimate the total number of drunken driving incidents that occurred in the United States during 2010. The CDC estimates that 112 million drunken driving episodes occurred last year. While the number is high, the number is down substantially from 161 million episodes during 2006.

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

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