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CDC: Millions of Americans drive drunk each month

Updated:

By Chelsea Todaro, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

More Americans than you think have broken the law when it comes to drunk driving.

A study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 4.2 million people admitted to driving intoxicated “at least once over the prior month” which amounts to 121 million drunk driving instances a year.

According to CDC researchers, “alcohol-impaired driving crashes have accounted for about one third of all U.S. crash fatalities in the past two decades.” Data from a 2012 federal survey also found that the typical drunk driver tends to be a young male between the ages of 21 to 34 with binge drinking problems. These men “made up a third of all drunk driving episodes, while men overall made up 80 percent of impaired drivers,” researchers said in the study.

The findings lead researchers to believe that "binge drinking is rampant among the young,” according to alcohol abuse expert Scott Krakower.  “In 2013, 39 percent of college students reported to binge drinking in the past month. Research has also shown that underage drinking may progress onward to a serious alcohol problem in adults,” Krakower added.

Researchers also found that four percent of adults are considered binge drinkers, defined as men who drink five or more alcoholic beverages at a time or women who have four or more drinks.

“This four percent of adults are involved in nearly two-thirds of all drunk driving accidents,” CDC researched said in the study.

So how can we reduce these numbers? CDC researchers suggest that states should get tougher on the issue, by “enforcing breath-alcohol laws, upping taxes on booze, cracking down on underage drinking, and expanding roadside "sobriety checkpoints,.”