How Many Americans Drive Drunk or High Each Year?

March 24, 2020

A new report from the CDC sheds light on the problem.

How Many Americans Drive Drunk or High Each Year?

Many Americans have grown up hearing the message that driving under the influence is dangerous — and should never be done. Yet despite these campaigns, the rate of impaired driving hasn’t seemed to slow down. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans admitted to driving either drunk or high in 2018.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Through the survey, 12 million drivers over the age of 16 admitted that they drove while under the influence of drugs in 2018. In the same year, almost 21 million people admitted that they drove drunk. Importantly, these estimates are likely low, given that they rely on people to (1) take the survey and (2) volunteer that they drove under the influence.

This report was particularly interesting given that a number of states — including California — have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Driving under the influence was most prevalent among males and individuals between the ages of 16 and 34 years of age. Survey respondents were far more likely to drive under the influence of marijuana — 4.7% percent — than for any other illicit drug (.9%). According to the survey, 34.8% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years of age had used marijuana in the past year.

These statistics demonstrate that driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs continues to be a problem in the United States. As a DUI lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can explain, California prohibits driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol. It doesn’t matter if the drug was legal — such as a prescription or even marijuana. You can still be charged with a criminal offense if using the drug impaired your ability to operate your vehicle in a safe manner.

Proving that a person was actually impaired simply because they have some measurable level of marijuana (or its psychoactive ingredient, THC) in their system can be difficult for the police or a prosecutor. That is why it is important to hire a DUI lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA to defend you if you have been charged with a DUI of drugs. Your lawyer can put together evidence to show that while you may have used or otherwise been exposed to marijuana at some point before driving, that doesn’t mean that you were unable to operate your motor vehicle safely.

At the Chambers Law Firm, we represent Californians who have been charged with DUIs of both drugs and alcohol. We thoroughly investigate each case to put together a strong factual and legal defense for our clients. If you have ben charged with a DUI, we can help. Contact our office at 855-397-0210 or to schedule a free consultation with a DUI lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

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