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Government estimates millions drive drunk

An estimated 17 million people have driven while drunk at least once on U.S. streets and highways in the course of a year, according to a government study released Wednesday.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey conducted in late 2008 found that 20 percent of those 16 and older reported driving within two hours of drinking alcohol.

Based on the survey results, NHTSA estimates that 8 percent of all drivers, or 17.2 million people, have driven at least once over the course of a year even though they thought they were drunk.

Additionally, 8 percent said they got a ride from a driver they thought was drunk. This was a particular problem for men between 21 and 24 years old. In this age group, 24 percent reported riding with a driver they thought had consumed too much alcohol.

On the positive side, the message about the dangers of drunken driving is widespread, with 81 percent of those surveyed seeing it as a serious public safety threat.

“We have got to do more, as a country, to close the gap between believing that drunk driving is a threat and actively doing something about it,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said.


Obama’s rental sold for $6.9M

HONOLULU | The beachfront Hawaii home rented by President Barack Obama and his family during their last two Christmas vacations has been sold for $6.9 million.

The five bedroom, single-story, 4,900-square-foot Kailua estate was sold to Paradise Point Estates LLC, a company managed by Glenn Weinberg of Owings Mills, Md.

Century 21 Kailua Beach Realty listing agent Joel Cavasso says the new owners hope Mr. Obama will continue to visit the property.

Mr. Cavasso says the buyers have never met Mr. Obama, but his interest in the property may have piqued theirs. Mr. Weinberg and his wife have contributed at least $73,000 to mostly Democratic politicians over the last decade.

The property was listed for $7.95 million, but it sold for about $1 million less.

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