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What does self-reporting say about drunk driving statistics?

Drunk driving arrests help show how many people are driving under the influence, but they don't tell the whole story. This is true with most types of arrests, as police naturally don't catch and arrest everyone.

In an effort to get more accurate data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps track of self-reported drunk driving data. What does it tell us about the trends?

First of all, there are always more than 100 million episodes, according to the CDC data. The lowest recorded was 111,000,000, which they found back in 2014 -- the most recent year that they provided data for. The highest was 161,000,000, in 2006.

As noted, the 2014 statistics were the lowest on record, with reports starting in 1993. The CDC did not report data every year, but this still does show a slight trend toward fewer drunk driving incidents.

That being said, the frequency does jump around a bit, so there is not one clear overall trend. In 1993, there were 123 million self-reported incidents. The numbers then fell for the next two recorded years, to 115 million and 116 million, but they jumped all the way to 159 million in both 1999 and 2002.

After that, the stats fell again in 2004, before jumping to the all-time high in 2006. They generally trended down from there, but there was a brief spike back up to 121,000,000 in 2012.

Have you been arrested and accused of driving under the influence? California authorities take this seriously, and a conviction could lead to fines, jail time and a license suspension, depending on the specifics of the case. You need to know all of your legal defense options.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts," accessed Feb. 01, 2017

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