September 3, 2009

Study: 12 percent of binge drinkers drive

About 12 percent of binge drinkers say they drove during or within two hours of their most recent binge drinking episode, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Timothy S. Naimi and colleagues at the National Centers for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed data from 14,085 adults from 13 states in 2003 and 14 states in 2004 as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.

For the purposes of the study, binge drinking was defined as the consumption of five or more drinks on one occasion.

Approximately 15 percent of all adults report one or more episodes of binge drinking in the past month, resulting in 1.5 billion binge drinking episodes annually -- or approximately 7 episodes per adult per year, the study said.

The study, scheduled to be published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found binge drinkers who drank most of their alcohol in bars, clubs and restaurants and who subsequently drove consumed an average of eight drinks, 53.5 percent consumed seven or more drinks and 25.7 consumed 10 or more drinks.

Overall, 75.1 percent of binge drinkers were men and 75.1 percent were age 44 or younger.