Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Survey Shows Decline in Drinking and Driving

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Survey Shows Decline in Drinking and Driving

Article excerpt

DENVER -- The prevalence of drinking and driving has steadily declined since the first National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers was conducted in 1973.

In the most recent of these surveys, just over 12% of weekend nighttime drivers had a detectable blood alcohol level. In contrast, that figure was 36% in the 1973 survey, dropping to 30% in the 1986 survey and 17% in 1996, Maria Vegega, Ph.D., reported.

For the most recent survey, conducted in 2007, nearly 10,000 noncommercial drivers were randomly stopped and anonymously tested for alcohol and drugs at 300 locations between the hours of 9:30 a.m. on Friday and 3 a.m. on Sunday.

Of daytime drivers, 1% had a detectable blood alcohol level; of nighttime drivers, more than 12% had detectable levels.

Additionally, the 2007 survey represents the first time data have been collected on the prevalence of drug use in a random sample of drivers.

Overall, 16.3% of drivers had detectable levels of drugs in their blood or oral fluid. Illegal drugs were detected in 11.3% of drivers, with marijuana being most common.

The most commonly detected prescription medications were stimulants, found in 3. …

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