CDC Study Shows 54 Percent Decrease in Teen Drinking and Driving Since 1991

CDC Study Shows 54 Percent Decrease in Teen Drinking and Driving Since 1991

October 2, 2012 Updated Oct 2, 2012 at 5:01 PM EST

(CDC news release) The percentage of teens in high school (aged 16 and older) who drove when they had been drinking alcohol decreased by 54 percent between 1991 and 2011, according to a Vital Signs study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a CDC news release:

Nine out of 10 high school teens (aged 16 and older) did not drink and drive during 2011.

“We are moving in the right direction. Rates of teen drinking and driving have been cut in half in 20 years,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “But we must keep up the momentum -- one in 10 high school teens, aged 16 and older, drinks and drives each month, endangering themselves and others.”

For the study, CDC analyzed data from the 1991-2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS). These national surveys asked high school students if they had driven a vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol one or more times during the 30 days before the survey; CDC researchers focused their analysis on students aged 16 and older.

The study also found that:

* Teens were responsible for approximately 2.4 million episodes of drinking and driving a month in 2011; some engaged in the dangerous behavior more than once a month.
   
* High school boys ages 18 and older were most likely to drink and drive (18 percent), while 16-year-old high school girls were least likely (6 percent).

* Eighty-five percent of teens in high school who reported drinking and driving in the past month also reported binge drinking. For YRBS, binge drinking means five or more drinks during a short period of time.

“Teens learn from adults,” said Pamela S. Hyde, the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “That is why it is critically important that parents, teachers, coaches and all caring adults in a young person’s life talk with them early and often about the dangers of underage alcohol use as well as drinking and driving.”

Read the entire CDC news release HERE.




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