New Report: Teen Drunk Driving Dropped by More Than Half, 1991 – 2011

The number of U.S. teenagers who drink and drive dropped by more than half from 1991 to 2011, federal health officials said Tuesday.

Nine out of 10 high school students age 16 and over said they did not drink and drive in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This represents a decline of 54 percent over two decades.

“There is good news in some of the data here,” CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said during a noon press conference Tuesday.

Still, one in 10 — or nearly one million students a month — reported driving after consuming alcohol.

“Drinking and driving is risky for any driver, but especially for young teens,” Frieden said. “Young drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 than when they have not been drinking.”

Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, Frieden said. “There are more than 2,000 teens aged 16 to 19 killed on the road each year, and many of those deaths are alcohol-related,” he said. One in five teen drivers involved in a fatal crash in 2010 had alcohol in their system, he added.

For the report, released Oct. 2, the CDC used data from the 1991-2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which asked U.S. teens if they had driven after drinking once or more in the past month.

Highlights of the report include:

  • High school students drove after drinking about 2.4 million times a month in 2011; some did so more than once a month.
  • Boys 18 and older were most likely to drive after drinking

Read more: US News

Back to top