4 million Americans admit to driving drunk

It's a staggering statistic.

Four million Americans admit to driving drunk.

That's according to the Centers for Disease Control, and that, they say, is just those who admit to doing it.

It's a number, groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are very concerned about.

The CDC said four million Americans admitting to drunk driving is certainly under the true number. In fact, it says alcohol impaired drivers were on the road an estimated 112 million times last year. That's down 30 percent from 2006.

Four million and counting is a number MADD advocates insist everyone should be scared of.

"It's very, very frightening news to see that four million Americans, and those are just the ones that have admitted to drinking and driving, it's a frightening thought, all of us are put at risk," said Virginia Gonzalez, Executive Director of MADD West Texas. "While 30 percent is down which is certainly exciting to hear, none the less, it's still very frightening to hear the number of individuals that are risking not only their own lives, but the lives of others."

So, what kind of drunk driving risk exists in Amarillo? One police official said it seems to be improving.

"In 2010 we arrested 402 people for DUI," said Cpl. Jerry Neufeld of the Amarillo Police Department. "That is down considerably (from) 2009 when we had 538. So there was a big drop in DUI arrests."

Neufeld said the state's grants to put extra officers on patrol during certain holidays and times, and campaigns like, "Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.", are helping curb any tendencies to drink and drive.

"I think we still have a long way to go even with the 402 we arrested. Sadly, there were many others out there that we didn't see that we didn't stop or get arrested, so they're risking their lives and other people's lives by drinking and driving," Cpl. Neufeld said.

The CDC is urging all states to increase sobriety checkpoints to deter drunk driving. Currently in the State of Texas, those checkpoints are not allowed.

So MADD says, along with educating the public, they'll continue to push to change that.

"MADD is very active on many different levels not only to regards to legislation, but education and prevention, you know, programs that are going to be effective," said Gonzalez.

So, if you choose to drink, remember there's a responsibility that goes along with that decision that affects not just you, but others on the road, too.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off