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1 in 5 College Students Admitted to Drunk Driving, Study Found
Date:6/2/2010

drunk. Among 20-year-olds, 43 percent said they had ridden with a drunk driver.

What's more, the authors observed noticeable increases in all three measures of alcohol-related traffic risk after students reached the legal drinking age of 21.

"Other studies have demonstrated that freshmen tend to drink more than upperclassmen," Robert B. Voas, a senior scientist and director of the Impaired Driving Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, noted in the same news release. "This may have led some to the erroneous conclusion that existing college alcohol-safety programs are effective. This study tends to demonstrate that alcohol-related problem behaviors increase with age, perhaps due to greater opportunities for risk taking such as owning a car or the ability to patronize bars and purchase alcohol. If college programs were successful, we should be able to at least prevent an increase in risky drinking and driving during the period the students are at the university."

Both Arrias and Voas said that the study findings led them to conclude that reducing the minimum legal age for drinking would be a bad idea.

"In fact," said Arria, "lowering the drinking age to 18 would likely result in a surge of alcohol-related traffic problems, given that younger students would have even less driving experience."

More information

For more on college drinking, visit the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.



-- Alan Mozes



SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, news release, May 31, 2010


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