April 23, 2008 / 4:22 AM / 12 years ago

One in six drivers drink sometimes: report

Jefferson County Sheriff Department officers ask drivers if they have been drinking while smelling for alcohol at a mobile Driving Under the Influence (DUI) checkpoint in Golden, Colorado, April 12, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 15 percent of U.S. adults have driven under the influence of alcohol in the past year and in some states as many as 25 percent did, according to a government study released on Wednesday.

Another 4.7 percent drove under the influence of illegal drugs, the survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found.

Utah had the fewest drunk drivers, with 9.5 percent of drivers 18 and older admitting to it. Wisconsin had the most, with 26.4 percent, followed by 24.9 percent in North Dakota and 23.5 percent in Minnesota.

“Combined data from 2004 to 2006 indicate that 15.1 percent of current drivers aged 18 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year,” reads the report, complied from national surveys.

It cites National Highway Traffic Safety Administration findings that show 16,700 people died in accidents related to driving under the influence of alcohol in 2004.

“This report highlights the enormous public health risk posed by this problem — one threatening the lives of many Americans every day,” SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline said in a statement.

"In 2006, an estimated 30.5 million persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past 12 months, and 10.2 million persons aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year," reads the report, available here

Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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