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Good news on the DWI front

COLUMBIA, Mo 3/21/14 (Beat Byte) -- Missourians are drinking more "adult beverages" but acting more adult behind the wheel:  they are having fewer drunk-driving accidents. 

Alcohol consumption is at an all-time high, while alcohol-related injury and deaths from driving are at a 35-year low, reports Missouri Wonk, a St. Louis-based policy research firm.   The group discovered the trend mining data from different sources: the Beer Institute and Missouri State Highway Patrol. 

Beer Insistute data shows that 17 years ago, Missourians consumed 23.1 gallons of beer, 1.4 gallons of wine, and 1.16 gallons of hard liquor per capita, about the national mean. 

By 2011, Missouri beer consumption had fallen slightly, to 22.4 gallons of beer per year.  But wine and hard liquor drinking was up:  1.8 gallons of wine, and 1.72 gallons of spirits per capita, again about the national mean.  With beer at 4%, wine 15%, and hard liquor 40% alcohol, that means alcohol consumption was also up -- significantly.  

"We are not drinking more in terms of volume, we are just drinking more potent libations,"  Missouri Wonk reports. 

Despite the rise in alcohol consumption, from 1997 through 2011 Missouri State Highway Patrol data revealed a 31 percent decrease in alcohol-related accidents, from 8,750 to 6,041, Missouri Wonk researchers discovered.    The graph above vividly shows the two trends (click for larger image). 

Nationwide, the biggest drinkers live in New Hampshire, Nevada, and the District of Columbia.  Utah -- a largely Mormon state -- boasts the most teetotallers.


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