Tennessee residents may be interested to learn that the drunk driving rate in the United States is going down. An annual survey shows that Americans drove drunk less frequently in 2014 than they did in the previous 13 years. The drunk driving data was part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and 2014 is the most recent year with available survey results.
According to the 2014 survey, 11.1 percent of Americans over the age of 16 admitted that they had driven drunk at some point in that year. In 2002, the same survey found that 15.3 percent of Americans had admittedly driven drunk in recent months. Though the drunk driving survey can show meaningful trends, the numbers are not thought to be exact measurements of how many Americans drive drunk each year. The data likely has flaws because it is self-reported by people who may have different ideas of what ‘driving drunk” is. It is also possible that some survey respondents do not report their own drunk driving.
The same survey also asks respondents whether or not they have driven under the influence of illegal drugs in the past year. In 2002, 5 percent of the survey respondents said that they had driven while they were under the influence of illegal drugs. By 2014, only 4.1 percent of survey respondents admitted to drugged driving.
Drinking alcohol and then driving is illegal when an adult driver’s blood-alcohol content is .08 percent or higher or when he or she is impaired . If prosecutors cannot prove that a driver had a BAC level of .08% or higher, then they can prove that a driver was impaired to obtain a conviction. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a DUI defendant to argue that a police officer’s interpretation of a field sobriety test is not sufficient evidence of drunk driving.