With all the holiday parties that take place at the end of the year, drunk driving incidents tend to occur more frequently—which can be especially dangerous if you live in one of the 15 U.S. states where at least 41% of all traffic fatalities can be attributed to drunk driving.
The End Needless Deaths on Our Roadways (END) group, an advocacy organization led by doctors, has just released its list of 15 U.S. states where the most traffic-related deaths occurred due to drinking. Washington D.C. topped this list, where drunk driving was a cause of 54.17% of vehicle-related deaths.
Who Else Made the List:
· Rhode Island
· South Carolina
· South Dakota
· Washington, D.C.
· North Dakota
END says that in 2005, close to 17,000 motorists were killed in drunk driving accidents in the US with more than 4,000 of those fatalities taking place in these 15 states. Rankings were determined by data taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s reporting system.
The CDC offers the following suggestions to prevent injuries due to impaired driving:
· Sobriety checkpoints. Fatal crashes thought to involve alcohol dropped a median of 22% (with random breath testing) and 23% (with selective breath testing) following implementation of sobriety checkpoints.
· 0.08% BAC laws. Fatal alcohol-related crashes showed a median decrease of 7% following the implementation of 0.08% BAC laws in 16 states.
· Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws. Raising the MLDA, such as from 18 to 21, decreases crash-related outcomes a median of 16% for the targeted age groups.
· "Zero tolerance" laws for young drivers. One study found that fatal crash outcomes decreased 24% after implementation of “zero tolerance” laws (Elder et al. 2002, Howat et al. 2004, Shults et al. 2001, Shults et al. 2002).
END is recommending that medical workers and physicians work harder to identify whether patients have drinking problems. The group also suggested that states increase fines and prison times for DUI offenders, while also penalizing motorists who refuse to be tested for sobriety.
Utah, which has the strictest drinking laws in the U.S., has the lowest alcohol-related deaths rate at 13.12%.