It has long been known that drunk driving arrest statistics do not tell the whole story. After all, many people drink and drive without getting caught. While police can release arrest numbers, they know that other possible drunk drivers slipped through the cracks. However, it is hard to pin down exactly how many people drink and drive.

One way to find out is to ask adults anonymously if they drink and drive. When they don’t fear repercussions, they may admit to it. In one study, over 4 million people said they sometimes drove after drinking too much.

What does that mean on a grand scale? Researchers claim that in drunk drivers take to the streets in excess of 121 million times a year. Many don’t many get arrested.

Those who conducted the study said that all of the statistics are probably too low. Three reasons for this include the following:

  • Some drunk drivers might not have admitted it.
  • Some people may not admit that they drink and drive, even to themselves.
  • The study only considered people who were 18 years old and older, meaning that younger teens (16 and 17) who drive under the influence didn’t factor in at all.

Regardless, it is clear that drunk driving is common, perhaps more common than a lot of people realize. Those who get arrested need to know all of the legal defense options they have. A DWI — even a first offense conviction — can have a drastic impact on your future, especially if you are young, and you need to protect yourself.