In the past two decades, students who drink and drive has dropped by more than half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say it is in part because of tougher laws. The agency cited stricter laws against drunk driving and restrictions on teen driving privileges, like restricted nighttime driving. Another factor may be because less teens are driving now, because of high gas prices and the slow economy.
In 2011, 10.3 percent of high school students 16 and older reported drinking and driving in the past 30 days, compared to 22.3 percent twenty years earlier. For the report, the agency analyzed risk behavior data collected from thousands of high school students through national surveys and from 41 states. Despite the decrease, nearly a million high school students consumed alcohol before driving last year, the report showed.
Male students 18 and older were the most likely to drink and drive, and 16-year-old female students were the least likely, it said. Eighty-five percent of high school students who reported drinking and driving in the prior month also admitted binge drinking, defined as having five or more drinks during a short time period.