Drinking and Driving for Public Safety


Last month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the results of a report that asked 124,000 adults if they had driven under the influence of alcohol in the last year.

The results were kinda' fun. Wisconsin finished with the worst results in the country, with one in four respondents having admitted to driving under the influence over the previous 12 months. The survey results led to articles like this one, proving the psychology and demographics of the state's residents to explain their risky behavior.

But as the National Motorists Association points out, Wisconsin's highway fatality rate is significantly lower than the national average. Riffing off how government typically manipulates data like this in the public health context, NMA satirically suggests a public health campaign encouraging a drink or two before getting behind the wheel.

What's not exactly clear is whether the government agency that conducted the survey defined "under the influence (and if they did, how they defined it), or if they left it up to the respondents to come up with their own definition. What does seem clear is that the state with the most drivers under the influence (or at least the state that's most honest about it) isn't exactly littering its highways with dead motorists.

In other DWI news, you might want to steer clear of San Antonio this weekend. Officials there announced this week that police will forcibly draw blood from any motorist who refuses a breath test.