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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2007 State-by-State Drunk Driving Fatality Data Released

32 States Reduce Fatality Figures

Recently, The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report showing that 12,998 people were killed nationally in 2007 by drunk drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. The good news, however, is that the state-by-state drunk driving fatality figures show that 32 states reduced their drunk driving-related fatalities in 2007—a 3.7 percent decrease in drunk driving traffic fatalities from 2006. This includes a 15 percent decrease in fatal crashes involving underage drinking drivers, which is the most progress shown by any age group.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there's still much work to be done. The organization says that the best way for the country to expand and accelerate this progress is for all states to pass legislation requiring alcohol ignition interlock installations for all convicted drunk drivers. Although some states have passed this legislation, many states still lag behind.

California failed to pass interlock legislation to reduce drunk driving fatalities this year, despite having 310,971 drivers with three or more DUI convictions driving on the road. MADD and bill supporters will return to the Sunshine State next year to promote this critical drunk driving legislation.

More people were killed in Texas drunk driving crashes - the worst major state in the nation in the percentage of fatalities involving a drunk driver - than any other state. Texas has less than two-thirds of California's population. Texas must allow sobriety checkpoints and mandate ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers an opportunity it missed in 2007.

The fourth worst state in the nation for drunk driving is Wisconsin, actually recorded more drunk driving fatalities than in 2007, when it already ranked worst in the nation. Wisconsin is the only state where first-offense drunk driving is not a crime but a civil infraction. Each year, precious lives are lost due to its disregard for drunk driving, as reflected in its lack of sobriety checkpoints and effective interlock legislation.

South Carolina showed slight improvement in 2007, but is consistently one of the most lenient states for drunk driving. In the past three years, the state legislature has killed any meaningful reform of drunk driving legislation.

In November 2006, MADD launched its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which supports high visibility law enforcement, mandatory ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers in all 50 states, and the exploration of advanced technologies that will one day make cars inoperable by drunks as well as efforts to gain public support for these initiatives.

Online courses are now available to educate drivers on the rules of the road and the latest defensive driving techniques. Try it today!

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