Report: Drunk driving rates fell in recent years

New government statistics show that fewer Americans are risking arrest and years of higher auto insurance costs by drinking and driving.

New government statistics show that fewer Americans are risking arrest and years of higher auto insurance costs by drinking and driving.

This week, the Department of Transportation released figures showing that the percentage of drivers found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher fell from 7.5 percent in 1973 to 2.2 percent in 2007.

"I'm pleased to see that our battle against drunk driving is succeeding. However, alcohol still kills 13,000 people a year on our roads and we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent drunk driving," said Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood.

Some of the findings in the government report showed that male drivers were 42 percent more likely to drive impaired than female drivers, and that drivers were more likely to be illegally impaired between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. than any other time of day.

Also, the report found that motorcycles and pickup trucks led the way in overall rates of operators with illegally high blood alcohol levels. The report also found that 16.3 percent of nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for illegal drugs.

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Posted: July 14, 2009

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