One in Three Adult Drivers Drinking, Using Drugs
one in three adult drivers age 21 to 25 drove under the
influence of alcohol or drugs during the past year, according
to a report recently released by SAMHSA. These data also
show that 16.6 percent of adult drivers age 21 or older
(30.7 million persons) reported driving while under the
influence of alcohol or illicit drugs during the past
SAMHSA extracted the data from the National Surveys
on Drug Use and Health, 2002 and 2003. The report, Driving
Under the Influence Among Adult Drivers, estimates
that among adult drivers age 21 or older, 15.7 percent
drove under the influence of alcohol, 4.3 percent drove
under the influence of illicit drugs, and 3.0 percent
drove under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs
during the past year.
The report found that older drivers are less likely
than younger drivers to drive while under the influence
of alcohol or illicit drugs. The data showed that 33.8
percent of drivers age 21 to 25 had done so. In comparison,
24.3 percent of those age 26 to 34 drove while under
the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs and l8.5 percent
of those age 35 to 49 did so. Only 10 percent of those
age 50 to 64 drove under the influence of alcohol and
illicit drugs in the past year, as did 3.4 percent of
those age 65 and older.
Illicit drugs include marijuana, cocaine, inhalants,
hallucinogens, heroin, or prescription drugs (nonmedical
The data show 22 percent of male drivers age 21 and
older drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
compared to 11.4 percent of females in 2002 and 2003.
For a copy of this report, contact SAMHSA's National
Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at P.O.
Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1(800)
729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD).
Online, the report is available on the SAMHSA Web site
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