This report represents the sixth in a series of biennial national surveys undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) starting in 1991, and reports data from this sixth administration as well as those of the first five administrations (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999). The objective of these recurrent studies is to measure both current status and trends regarding the public’s attitudes, knowledge, and self-reported behavior related to drinking and driving. These data are used in supporting future NHTSA initiatives, identifying areas where improvements have been made, and identifying those areas needing further attention.

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Volume I: Summary Report presents a top line summary of respondents’ behaviors and attitudes on various topics related to drinking and driving including reported frequency of drinking and driving, prevention and intervention, riding with impaired drivers, designated drivers, perceptions of penalties, and knowledge of and acceptance of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels.

Volume II: Methods Report describes the methods used to conduct the interviews and analyze the data. It also contains a copy of the most recent questionnaire.

Volume III: Findings Report presents a detailed description of respondent’s behaviors and attitudes on various topics related to drinking and driving including reported frequency of drinking and driving, prevention and intervention, riding with impaired drivers, designated drivers, perceptions of penalties, and knowledge of and acceptance of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels.

The findings for the 2001 survey administration indicate that despite the public’s continued concern about drinking and driving, progress in a number of key areas has slowed. Nearly eight in ten (77%) respondents said that drinking and driving by others is a major threat to their personal safety. This is a significant decline since 1999 (80%). In 1995, 20% of drivers reported driving within two hours of drinking in the past year. This proportion rose to 23 % in 1999 and remained the same in 2001. The proportion of persons who put themselves at risk by riding with a potentially impaired driver declined between 1993 and 1995, and remains near the 1995 level of 12%. Perceptions of the certainty of being stopped for violating drinking and driving laws declined between 1995 and 1997 (from 33% saying such a stop is unlikely to 40% in 1997), but have remained at or near 40% since 1997. Support for increased use of sobriety checkpoints increased slightly since 1993 from 62% to 66% in 1997, but have declined back to 993 levels again in 2001 (62%). While there was an increase in the proportion of persons who know the BAC limit in their state between 1995 (20%) and 1997 (29%), this level has remained consistent since 1997.

On the other hand, some gains were made. Drinker-drivers made between an estimated 809 million and 1 billion driving trips within two hours of consuming alcohol (about 906 million) within the past year: This represents a significant decrease from the 1.3 billion trips measured in 1993. Support for zero tolerance for persons of any age to drive after consuming any alcohol continues to rise, from 43% in 1991, to 45% in 1995, to 48% in 2001. Also, support for a legal limit of .08 has increased from the 1997 base of 56% to 68% in 1999, to 70% in 2001.