Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in drunkenness





Wisconsin is known historically as a hotbed of social reforms, yet cracking down on drunken drivers has never been high on policymakers' to-do list....

Big breweries once dominated the state and ties to the beer industry remain stout, giving way to a belief that hard drinking is as much a part of the Wisconsin culture as the Green Bay Packers and cheese. That's created a blind spot of sorts for the socially conscious state: drunken driving....

Much of Wisconsin's love of beer is based in its roots.

Its taste for barley and hops can be traced to German settlers who opened the first breweries and saw their numbers grow to roughly 400 by the late 1800s. And some of America's largest brewers - Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz - once called Milwaukee home....

Nearly one in four Wisconsin residents age 18 to 44 had four or more drinks in one sitting at least once within a month's time in 2008 - the latest year available - topping all other states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And a 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report showed 15.1 percent of the country's drivers age 18 and older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. Wisconsin drivers led the nation at 26.4 percent. Utah was the lowest at 9.5 percent....


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