The National Safety Commission Alerts

Safety is No Accident. Visit the National Safety Commission - America's Safety Headquarters for driver safety information, auto recalls and teen safe driver tips.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drinking Age Laws Saved 4,441 Lives Over 5 Years

New Government Data Reveals Great Gains

According to a new report released recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), minimum 21-year-old drinking age laws prevented an estimated 4,441 drunken driving deaths in the last five years alone.

At a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) event, NHTSA Acting Administrator David Kelly, who presented the report, said, "Turning our back on these laws would be a deadly mistake. Minimum drinking age laws are among the most effective measures ever used to reduce drunken driving deaths among America's young people."

Besides estimating lives saved due to 21-year-old minimum drinking age laws, the new NHTSA study reveals the number of lives saved by motorcycle helmets has risen drastically in recent years, in conjunction with a rise in motorcycle use. It's estimated that lives saved by helmets increase from 1,173 in 2003 to 1,784 in 2007. For the five-year period ending last year, a total of 7,502 lives were spared because motorcyclists used helmets.

The new statistical report examined a series of additional safety issues, and showed that in 2007 alone:

• Frontal air bags saved 2,788 passengers age 13 and older.
• Child safety seats saved 358 lives of children age 4 and under.
• Seat belts saved 15,147 and might have saved another 5,024 lives if all vehicle occupants involved in fatal crashes employed them.

Is your teen a safe driver? The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has developed a new Teen Injury Prevention course to emphasize driving safety for teenagers. For more information, including a Driver Education a Driver Education Book for Parents, visit

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