Thirty-two percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, were caused by drunk drivers. Several more were caused by drivers under the influence of drugs. That means more than 32 percent of traffic-related deaths could have been avoided if drivers didn't get behind the wheel while drunk or high. Thankfully, a new report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that drunk driving is on the decline, with the number of Floridians getting behind the wheel under the influence dropping significantly.
Between 2006 and 2009 only 10.9 percent of Floridians age 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol. That puts Florida near the bottom of all states for the percentage of citizens who drove drunk. Utah has the lowest rate at 7.4 percent, while Wisconsin had the highest rate with an astounding 23.7 percent.
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Florida's numbers are down from the levels reached between 2002 and 2005, when 13.7 percent of residents drove drunk. Considering the state's large population, the 2.8 percent drop was singled out in the report as one of the most significant drops in the nation. The national percentage of people driving drunk is also down, but Florida was one of only 12 individual states that saw a reduction.
Florida also saw a decline in people driving under the influence of drugs. Only 4.2 percent did son between 2006 and 2009, compared to 4.9 percent between 2002 and 2005. That rate also puts Florida in the bottom two fifths of all states.