While the rate of driving under the influence of illegal drugs remains mostly unchanged, the number of people driving while intoxicated in the United States fell to its lowest rate in 13 years in 2014, according to one matrix. Per data from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.1 percent of respondents who were 16 or older reported that they had driven while under the influence of alcohol.

Although the survey is not believed to be precise since people are self-reporting and participants may have differing ideas about what the threshold is for driving while intoxicated, the survey has been run since 2002. Therefore, there is a benchmark that can be used to compare numbers. According to the 2002 survey, 15.3 percent of those surveyed stated that they had driven while drunk.

Although the decrease in numbers of people driving while intoxicated is a good sign, there is still a lot of work to be done. In spite of the lowered rate of driving while intoxicated, 2015 still saw an increase in the number accidents involving drivers impaired by alcohol.

People who have been issued drunk driving charges should take the charges seriously even if it is their first offense. The penalties for being convicted of driving while intoxicated can include large fines, loss of driving privileges and even time in jail. Penalties are usually more severe if a person was previously convicted of a DUI. A criminal defense attorney might have some ways to combat the allegations, such as by challenging the way that field sobriety or breath tests were conducted.