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Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Alcohol-Related Driving Deaths Up in 2006
According to recently released data, in 2006, drunken driving fatalities increased in 22 states and fell in 28 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows there were 13,470 deaths in 2006 involving auto and motorcycle drivers with blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher, which is the legal limit for adults throughout the country. The number is a slight downturn from 2005, when 13,582 people perished in crashes involving legally drunk drivers.
Last year, the overall number of deaths involving auto and motorcycle drivers with any amount of alcohol in their blood was 17,602. According to spokeswoman Heather Ann Hopkins, that was up from 17,590 in 2005.
"The number of people who died on the nation's roads actually fell last year," U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said. "However, the trend did not extend to alcohol-related crashes."
Transportation officials released the new figures and unveiled a $11 million nationwide advertising campaign as part of a Labor Day weekend campaign "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest."
Secretary Peters added, “This crackdown is very, very, very important because it's the penalties that are imposed when someone chooses to ignore the law that really have the ability to make changes."
Arizona, Kansas and Texas had the greatest state increases in number of drunken driving deaths last year. But Utah, Kansas and Iowa had the largest percentage increases since 2005. The largest actual number of drunken driving deaths is held by Texas, with a total of 1,354.
States with the greatest decreases in numbers of drunken driving deaths last year were Florida, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, while the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Delaware had the greatest percentage decreases compared with 2005. The District of Columbia, with a total of 12, had the smallest actual number of drunken driving deaths.
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