Study finds sharp drop in drunken driving rate

Illinois motorists may be interested to know that data released for 2014 shows that the rate for driving while intoxicated has dramatically fallen in the U.S. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that slightly more than 10 percent of American citizens of driving age admitted to driving drunk in 2014. These statistics, which were gathered from a self-reported federal study, have reportedly not been this low for more than a decade.

For 2002, the survey found that roughly 15 percent of Americans admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol, 5 percent confessed to driving under the influence of drugs and about 3 percent acknowledged to using both at the same time. While intoxicated driving fell to 11.1 percent by 2014, driving under the influence of drugs dropped to 4.1 percent and driving under both drugs and alcohol lowered to 2.4 percent.

Experts say that although the report is encouraging, much work needs to be accomplished to reduce the number of drunken driving fatalities annually. For example, there were 10,265 drunk driving-related fatalities in 2015 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These numbers reflect the increase of 300 roadway fatalities since 2014.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, those with the highest drunken driving rates were men aged 21 to 25. In 2014, more than one in five males in this age group drove under the influence of alcohol, about one in seven operated a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and one in 12 operated a vehicle while drugged and drunk.

People facing drunk driving charges in Illinois could be penalized with huge fines and a lengthy jail term if they are convicted. For these reasons, they might wish to speak with a lawyer who could provide an effective defense during the trial and assist with the plea bargaining process to decrease sentencing.

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