Military veterans in Indiana and across the U.S. are binge drinking and drunk driving in higher numbers according to a recent study by the American Addiction Centers. The authors of the study believe the spike in these risky behaviors could be linked to emotional and physical trauma.

For the study, AAC researchers analyzed behavioral risk factor data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to understand the reasons behind a recent rise in binge drinking and drunk driving incidents among U.S. veterans. They found that binge drinking rates among veterans increased from approximately 14% in 2013 to just below 16% in 2017. They also found that the rate increased the most among female veterans. For reference, binge drinking is defined as having five drinks within a two-hour period for men and four drinks within the same period for women.

Meanwhile, the study found that drunk driving incidents have increased among veterans in recent years, which is likely linked to the spike in binge drinking. Specifically, the percentage of veterans pulled over for drunk driving jumped from 1.6% in 2014 to 2.5% in 2017, which is an increase of almost 60%. Unlike with binge drinking, the jump in drunk driving was much higher among male veterans than female vets. Finally, the study discovered that the most drunk driving incidents involving veterans took place in California, Kentucky and Washington, D.C. On the flip side, Virginia, Alaska and Utah had the fewest incidents.

Indiana veterans who face drunk driving charges may feel confused and alone. However, a defense attorney who handles DUI cases may be able to assess a veteran’s case and do everything possible to protect his or her future. These efforts might cause the case to be dismissed or lead to a plea deal that reduces the charges.