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Drunk Driving Rises Among U.S. Veterans

Drunk Driving Rates on the Rise Among U.S. Veterans

Recent data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving revealed that drunk driving deaths overall are down 16 percent since 2006. States have made gains in passing legislation with stronger penalties for drivers caught driving under the influence. Despite this decrease, other data has shown that binge drinking and drunk driving rates among U.S. military veterans is on the rise. 

A study completed by the American Addiction Centers found that both binge drinking and drunk driving are on the rise among U.S. veterans.

In just two years, from 2014 to 2016, the percentage of U.S. veterans found driving drunk increased from 1.6 percent to 2.5 percent, and binge drinking rates increased from 14 to almost 16 percent. These increases, though small, represent thousands of people who are binge drinking and driving drunk.

Here are some key takeaways from the study:

  • The number of veterans identified as binge drinkers has increased from 14 percent to 16 percent.
  • Top ranking states for drunk driving occurrences of veterans: California, Kentucky, Washington, D.C., Illinois.
  • Lowest ranking states for drunk driving occurrences of veterans: Virginia, Alaska, Utah, West Virginia.
  • Drunk driving rates among veterans are higher among men than women, yet binge drinking rates among veterans have seen a bigger increase in women.
  • Across income levels, veterans with an annual income of $75,000 or more have had more binge drinking episodes and more DUI convictions. 

Mental Health Disorders and Alcohol Abuse

A focal point of the study is how mental health disorders, such as PTSD and depression, are a contributing factor to alcohol abuse and drunk driving.

As many as 30 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental health issues. Many turn to alcohol and substance abuse as a coping mechanism, which intensifies the effects of their mental health disorders.

Some states, including California, have introduced legislation that would allow veterans to face lesser penalties when charged with drunk driving. 

Getting Help

The American Addiction Centers are committed to helping veterans when they return home from deployment, offering support services for both veterans and their families. Visit American Addiction Centers online to learn more about how they can help you or a loved one with alcohol abuse. 

Intoxalock Can Help With IID Needs

If you’ve been convicted of a drunk driving offense and need help with an ignition interlock device, Intoxalock is here to help you regain driving privileges to get back on the road. Read more about why you should choose Intoxalock for your IID needs.


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