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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Daily Death Toll from Drunk Driving Crashes Highest During Holiday Season

Nationwide Crackdown on Drunk Driving to Extend Through New Year's Eve

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced that new federal traffic safety data shows that during the Christmas and New Year's holiday periods, the daily death toll from drunk driving crashes is significantly higher than the rest of the year.

Secretary Peters, noting that driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, said, "If you've had too much holiday spirit you'd better find a safe and sober ride. Driving while drunk is not worth the risk."

She explained that data released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that from 2001-2005, as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver, an average of 36 fatalities occurred per day on America's roadways. She added that number increases to 45 per day during the Christmas period, while jumping to 54 per day over the New Year's holiday.

Peters said that 38 percent of all traffic fatalities during the Christmas period occurred in crashes involving a drunk driver or motorcycle rider, and 41 percent occurred during the New Year's period. Compare this with 31 percent for the year as a whole.

Secretary Peters and NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason announced that as a result, an intensive nationwide crackdown on drunk driving by law enforcement agencies would continue through New Year's Eve. The public awareness campaign "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest." is being supported by $7 million in national television and radio advertising.

"The consequences of driving drunk are serious and real," Administrator Nason said. "Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving drunk can be overwhelming."

To view the new statistical analysis, "Fatalities Related to Alcohol-Impaired Driving During the Christmas and New Year's Day Holiday Periods," click here.

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