10% of U.S. high schoolers drink and drive

Oct. 2, 2012 at 5:43 PM
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ATLANTA, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- It is illegal to drink and drive for those ages 16-21 in all states, but 1-of-10 U.S. high school students admit doing it, officials say.

However, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said from 1991 to 2011 there was a 54 percent decrease in underage drinking and driving. In 2011, 90 percent of U.S. high school teens said they did not drink and drive, the report said.

"We are moving in the right direction," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "But we must keep up the momentum -- 1-in-10 high school teens, age 16 and older, drinks and drives each month, endangering themselves and others."

The CDC analyzed data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which asked high school students if they had driven a vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol one or more times during the 30 days before the survey.

"For those age 21 and under any alcohol at all is illegal and we've seen that teens are highly susceptible to riskier drinking, riskier driving if they've been drinking at all," Frieden said.

The report also found:

-- U.S. teens were responsible for about 2.4 million episodes of drinking and driving a month in 2011.

-- High school boys ages 18 and older were most likely to drink and drive, 16-year-old high school girls least likely.

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