Survey: People Have Reasons for Drunk Driving. Dumb Ones.

man-driving-drunk-with-beerPlenty of reports get issued each year compiling data on drunk driving: how many arrests, collisions, and deaths are caused by this preventable crime. Given the consequences of drunk driving, one wonders why one would even attempt it. What are the reasons for drunk driving?

That question needs a report of its own, and recently the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) published one to get some answers.

The researchers asked questions to try to learn why people got behind the wheel when they knew they had been drinking. The results are telling: almost half the respondents thought they were OK to drive, despite being over the legal limit of .08 percent BAC. In other words, the limit had no meaning: they determined on their own that they still had the necessary faculties to drive safely.

reasons-for-drunk-driving-tirf-report
Source: Traffic Injury Research Foundation

Others drove drunk for other, equally un-compelling reasons. 12 percent of respondents did it because they didn’t have far to drive. About 10 percent thought they could make it home if they drove carefully. And so on.

A Sad State of Affairs

It’s discouraging that in 2018, almost 40 years since MADD was founded and the campaign to end drunk driving began in earnest, people still have not gotten the message.

Everyone should read the report – it contains interesting facts not just about the reasons for drunk driving but about people who drive impaired, broken down by age, sex, region, and driving history.

Keep in mind that this survey uses self-reporting, which is not always reliable. Still, it’s a valuable entryway into the psyche of a type of criminal who is not at all on the edges of society. Drunk drivers are found among the rich and poor, among all races and classes. What unites them is the willingness to risk their life and the lives of others for what amounts to – check the chart again – no good reason.