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Driving Under The Influence: Higher Rates At Younger Ages

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In an average year, 30 million Americans drive while drunk and 10 million drive while impaired by illicit drugs, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The group surveyed U.S. drivers and found that teens and young adults had much higher rates for driving intoxicated.

"We asked individuals in the past year, had they used drugs or alcohol while driving, and we looked at both national and state estimates," Delany says.

The information indicates that nearly 20 percent of drivers, aged 16 to 25, had recently driven under the influence. That number drops to nearly 12 percent for drivers in the age group of 26 years and older.

For the D.C. metropolitan area, the numbers reflect a general decrease in irresponsible driving since the group's last report, which surveyed drivers from 2000 to 2005, says Dr. Peter Delany, who works for the group.

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