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Drunk driving rates up among veterans

The statistics may be concerning and surprising to people in Pennsylvania, especially those with veterans in their families, but drunk driving by military veterans has risen 60 percent since 2014 according to the results of one study. The American Addiction Centers reported that binge drinking and drunk driving have both become more common among the veteran population. The study analyzed behavioral data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report noted that binge drinking among veterans rose from 14 percent in 2013 to just under 16 percent in 2017. Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of more than five drinks in two hours for men or four drinks in the same period for women. While drinking itself may be more common, one of the more disturbing trends has been an elevated rate of drunk driving. While 1.6 percent of veterans reported driving drunk in 2014, 2.6 percent reported the same in 2016. Veterans were more likely to drive drunk in Kentucky, California and the District of Columbia.

Many are concerned that the rise in drunk driving arrests involving veterans may point to the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. According to study, as many as 30 percent of veterans returning from war in Iraq or Afghanistan may suffer from PTSD. As a result, legislators in some states have introduced bills to allow veterans to seek a diversion and prevent conviction for DUI charges.

A drunk driving conviction can have a serious impact on a person's life, leading to the suspension or loss of a driver's license as well as other criminal penalties. Many people rely on their driving privileges for work, school or family. People facing DUI allegations might work with a criminal defense lawyer to challenge police evidence and seek to avoid a conviction.

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