Drunk Driving in the US

We'd like to think that everyone realizes the dangers of drinking and driving nowadays, and with the advent of readily-available rideshare services used by a third of Americans, we hope that people are now deciding to leave their car at home if they are going out drinking.

To find out whether this was the case, we surveyed Americans across the country to find out their attitudes towards drinking and driving and it produced some interesting results.

How often people feel comfortable driving and drinking

Looking at the number of times people have driven in the last 30 days after drinking, it’s great to see that over 65% of respondents claimed to have not got behind the wheel. Interestingly, 23.2% of people admitted to driving after drinking at least 1-2 times and 2.17% of respondents admit to drinking and driving over 6 times.

Shockingly, 53.5% of survey respondents feel capable of driving after drinking as opposed to 46.5% who don’t. Another shocking insight we found was that 10% of people who said they are fine to drink and drive had received DUIs in the past.

Reasons for drunk driving

What’s the main reason people drink and drive? Well, it’s because they feel okay to drive. Or, at least, that’s what 29.8% of respondents claimed as the main reason they get behind the wheel after drinking.

The second main reason for drinking and driving is that people’s destination isn’t far from where they are drinking, with 10% of people being happy to chance it and get behind the wheel for a short journey.

The third most popular reason, with 4% of respondents admitting to this, is that they didn’t have any other way to get home. Regardless of where you are, you should always have a plan in place to get home if you’ve been drinking because it’s never okay to get behind the wheel.

Drunk driving habits with passengers

When we asked about attitudes surrounding drunk driving with passengers, we were shocked to see that 92% of respondents had driven with passengers 1-2 times after having alcoholic drinks in the past 30 days.

Looking regionally, respondents from the Northeast were the least likely to be affected by having a passenger with when they are making the decision to drive drunk, whereas the South is the region where drivers are the most affected by having a passenger when they drink and drive.

Being A Passenger With A Drunk Driver

Interestingly, it seems that nearly 50% of people have been a passenger with a drunk driver due to either drinking themselves or sadly not having another option for transportation at the time.

The main reason why passengers ride with intoxicated drivers? Well, they feel that they know them and they are normally fine driving.

Number of drinks before people feel it is unsafe to drive

It seems that the majority of people feel fine to drive after one drink, regardless of whether it is beer, wine, or liquor. We are shocked to see people claim that they are fine to drive after 5-6+ drinks!

Type of alcohol people feel most comfortable driving after consuming

Overall, people feel the most comfortable driving after drinking beer compared to wine and liquor.

Attitudes towards the likelihood of police stops and accidents after drinking

While you’re not guaranteed to get into an accident or be stopped by the police while drinking and driving, it’s good to see that the majority of people recognize that this is a somewhat likely outcome of drinking and driving with nearly 40% agreeing.

Percentage of men and women who have driven blackout drunk

Shockingly, 24% of males have driven whilst blackout drunk. Males are more likely to drive whilst drunk than females with just 12% of females admitting to driving blackout drunk.

Rideshare apps correlation to drunk driving rates

Fascinatingly, even with rideshare options available throughout the country, 3 in 4 millennials say the availability of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft make them less likely to drive after drinking alcohol.

Overall, however, the majority of people do feel that rideshare apps change the likelihood of them drinking and driving.

It’s never a good idea to drink and drive and just one drink can raise your BAC (blood alcohol content) to unsafe levels. You can find out more about BAC and how your body reacts using our BAC calculator.

Just like many other chronic diseases, alcohol addiction can be managed and treated successfully, allowing people to counteract the disruptive and negative effects alcohol addiction has on their brain and behavior so that they can regain control of their lives.

If you know anyone in your life who is suffering from alcohol addiction, find out more about how you can help.

Can I use this information?

The information and graphics in this blog post can be used and displayed by all commercial and non-commercial websites without charge. However, use is only permitted with proper attribution to americanaddictioncenters.org When using this information or any of these graphics, please include a backlink to this page.