U.S. Teen Drinking and Driving Rate Cut in Half in 20 Years
The percentage of U.S. high school students who drink and drive has dropped by more than half in two decades, in part due to tougher laws against driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a new federal study.
In 2011, 10.3 percent of high school students 16 and older reported drinking and driving in the previous 30 days, compared to 22.3 percent in 1991, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
The CDC credited the nearly 54 percent decline to stricter laws against drunken driving and restrictions on teen driving privileges, such as limits on the hours teenagers may legally drive at night.
"We've seen really good progress," CDC Director Thomas Frieden told reporters. "We're moving in the right direction, but we need to keep up the momentum."
Despite the decrease, nearly 1 million high school students consumed alcohol before driving last year, the report showed.
Drinking and driving among teens is a factor in more than 800 deaths annually, and car crashes remain the leading cause of death among teens aged 16-19, the CDC said.