The CBHSQ Report
Background: Driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs poses a significant threat to public safety. This report expands on the knowledge of the relationship between drunk and drugged driving and trends in impaired driving. Method: This report uses data from the 2002 to 2014 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health to estimate the percentage of people aged 16 or older who drove a vehicle while under the influence during the past year. This report presents estimates of driving while under the influence of (a) alcohol, (b) illicit drugs, (c) alcohol and illicit drugs, and (d) alcohol and illicit drugs simultaneously. The 2014 estimates were compared with estimates from 2002 to 2013 to examine changes in these measures over time. Results: Findings in this report indicate that, in 2014, driving under the influence of alcohol is more common than drugged driving for 27.7 million people who drove under the influence of alcohol and that 10.1 million people drove under the influence of illicit drugs, whereas 7.0 million people drove under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs, including 5.9 million who drove under the simultaneous influence of alcohol and illicit drugs. The trend analysis showed that the 2014 estimate of driving under the influence tended to be lower than the estimates in prior years. Conclusion: Highlighting driving under the influence of substances, as well as monitoring changes, may help to raise awareness about the consequences of drunk and drugged driving and to improve prevention efforts. Although the results of this study indicate that driving while impaired remains a problem in the United States, the trend analysis suggests that prevention messages may be having an effect because rates have declined, particularly among high-risk groups like young adults and males.