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Thursday, August 24, 2006
2005 National Alcohol-Related Auto Fatality Statistics Highlights Severity of U.S. Drunk-Driving Problem
Alcohol-impaired driving continues to be a grave problem, according 2005 state-by-state data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 16,885 alcohol-related deaths in auto crashes in 2005 alone.
"Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes," said Maria Cino, Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. "Our message is simple: if you drive drunk, you will be arrested."
Acting Secretary Cino announced that the Department is devoting $11 million in a new advertising campaign, "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest," which will be the largest media bombardment ever used to deal with the problem of drunk driving. She added that the Department was launching an enforcement effort through Labor Day, including thousands of police departments throughout the US working to seek out an arrest drunk drivers.
Acting Secretary Cino said the drunk driving data offers new details that will help police and NHTSA confront the problem. She noted 39 percent of all 2005 auto deaths involved alcohol. On a positive note, she added that 23 states and Puerto Rico recorded a decrease in the number of alcohol-related fatalities from 2004 to 2005.
"Alcohol and automobiles are a lethal combination," commented NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason. "That is why we are working closely with our law enforcement and national advocacy partners to get even tougher on drunk drivers."
According to the data, the largest segment of drivers in alcohol-related fatalities were male drivers ages 21 to 34 (33 percent), followed by males age 35 to 44 (25 percent). The new TV, radio and Internet ads, presented in English and Spanish, will run during national programs geared towards 21- to 34-year-old males.
Driver education helps increase drunk driving awareness and ensures the safety of American drivers. The National Safety Commission recommends The Driver Education Handbook for Parents as a valuable teaching tool for parents who are concerned with their teen's driving safety and understand the value of quality instruction.