Overall, 21 percent of the driving–age public reported driving a vehicle within 2 hours of consuming alcoholic beverages in the previous year, and about 10 percent of these trips were driven at a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. (BAC was estimated based on a NHTSA formula using gender, weight, number of drinks consumed, length of time drinking, and length of time between last drink and driving.) Bars, taverns, and restaurants were the origin of more than half the drinking and driving trips (54 percent), whereas 17 percent of the trips originated at the driver’s own home and 23 percent originated at another person’s home. In general, people who drive after drinking believe they can consume up to three drinks in a 2–hour period and still drive safely. Those who do not drink and drive think their limit is about one–third less, or two drinks (Royal 2000).
Not only are males more likely than females to report driving after drinking, they typically drive longer distances after drinking. The average distance of the average drinking–driving trip was greater than 16.7 miles for males, compared with 8.5 miles for females.
Heavy drinkers more likely to reach 85 without …
Consistent with the fatality data, males were much more likely to report driving after drinking than females (31 percent vs. 13 percent). Drivers under 21, and particularly those between 16 and 18, were the least likely of any age group of drivers to report driving after drinking, and drivers ages 21 to 45 were the most likely to report this behavior.