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One in Ten Admit To Driving Drunk in Last 12 Months

As New Year’s Eve approaches, keep two things in mind. Odds are probably one in 20 drivers will be legally drunk behind the wheel and the incidence of drunk driving fatalities is 2.5 times higher on New Year’s Day.

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Those statistics were reported by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which commissioned a study that found that nine out of ten Americans support requiring all drivers who have been convicted of DWI more than once to use a device that won’t let their car start if they have been drinking. And, 69 percent of Americans support requiring all drivers convicted of DWI, including first-time offenders, to use such a device.’

These findings were part of the AAA Foundation’s third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally-representative survey conducted by Abt SRBI Inc. The Traffic Safety Culture Index was a telephone survey of 2,000 U.S. residents ages 16 and older conducted from May 11, 2010 through June 7, 2010. For more information about the survey and other materials related to drinking and driving visit

The report from the foundation also cites a new analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2000 to 2009 found that an average of 80 people a year are killed in alcohol-related crashes on New Year’s Day—almost two and a half times as many as on the same day of the week in other weeks around New Year’s. In 2009, 73 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes on New Year’s Day. In 2005—the last time New Year’s Day fell on a Saturday—98 people died in alcohol- related crashes on New Year’s Day.

The Federal Highway Administration says there were 190 million licensed drivers in 2000, the most recent data available. That means more than 19 million drivers hit the road drunk in the last 12 months, with almost 10 million confessing to doing it more than once in the last 12 months.

Photo courtesy of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

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