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NHTSA: In The Last Year, Some 17 Million Motorists May Have Driven Drunk

"Drunk driving is deadly, it's against the law, and unfortunately, it's still a problem," Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said yesterday, following the release of the NHTSA survey. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Bloomberg highlights a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which concludes "an estimated 17 million motorists may have driven while drunk in the preceding 12 months."

Eight percent of almost 7,000 U.S. drivers ages 16 and older responding to a 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration telephone survey said they had driven when their blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit at least once in the previous year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "National Survey of Drinking and Driving Attitudes and Behaviors," "twenty percent of the public 16 and older had in the past year driven a motor vehicle within two hours of drinking alcohol."

About two-thirds of these, or 13 percent of the total population 16 and older had done so in the past 30 days. The survey produced an estimate of 85.5 million past-month drinking-driving trips, up from 73.7 million trips in 2004 and reversing a declining trend in such trips since 1995. More than three-fourths (78 percent) of the trips were made by males.

You can read the full summary here.

According to the report, 20 percent of the public 16 and older had in the past year driven a motor vehicle within two hours of drinking alcohol. Oli Scarff/Getty Images hide caption

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Oli Scarff/Getty Images

According to the report, 20 percent of the public 16 and older had in the past year driven a motor vehicle within two hours of drinking alcohol.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images
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