The poll of 11th- and 12-graders found 23 percent admitted having driven while impaired, and 20 percent said they thought they were better drivers when they were under the influence, USA Today reported Saturday.
Relatively few teens said they had driven drunk after high school proms or graduations, where they tend to be chaperoned by adults. About twice as many said they had driven drunk during vacations or holidays such as the Fourth of July.
Cathy Chase of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said the number of teenagers who apparently feel they can drive safely after drinking or using drugs may seem high.
"But unfortunately, it's not surprising because teens think they're invincible and they think nothing will happen to them," she said. "Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a friend or someone in their school getting killed before the reality kind of hits them."
The survey was conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and the insurance company Liberty Mutual. Pollsters questioned 1,708 teenagers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in 2011 about one-third, 32 percent, of the teenagers killed in car crashes had been drinking.