MADD and the 2007 DUI Fatality Breakdown
By: Chris Kramer
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released the state-by-state drunk driving fatality data for 2007, and there's good news and bad news.
First the bad news: The report shows that 12,998 people were killed in the United States during 2007 by drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. In all states, the legal limit for driving is .08 percent for adults.
Now for the good news: The DUI data shows that the number of drunk driving fatalities was reduced in 32 states in 2007.
Wisconsin DUI Fatality Increases
In Wisconsin, 313 people were killed in DUI crashes in 2007. Unfortunately, this was an increase in drunk driving fatalities from 2006. Even worse, according to MADD Online, Wisconsin was the worst state in 2006 for drunk driving.
Wisconsin is the only state that treats DUI as a civil offense rather than a crime. There is also no ignition interlock law in Wisconsin and MADD also notes that there are fewer sobriety checkpoints in the state than in other states.
MADD Calling for More Ignition Interlock Devices
Nationwide, there was a 3.7 percent decrease in drunken driving fatalities from 2006 to 2007. There were also 15 percent less fatal DUI crashes involving underage drivers who had been drinking.
MADD is pressing for ignition interlock devices to be required by law in the vehicles of all convicted drunk drivers nationwide. Many states already have ignition interlock laws, but those that do not can expect increased pressure from MADD for this legislation.
California has not passed an ignition interlock law. A reported 310,971 drivers are on the road in the state with three or more California DUI convictions. MADD will be working hard in California next year to promote ignition interlock legislation.
Texas DUI and South Carolina DUI Fatality Statistics
In Texas, more people are killed in DUI crashes than in any other state. The state also is one of the worst states in the percentage of fatalities involving a drunk driver. Texas does not require ignition interlocks to be installed in the vehicles of all convicted drunk drivers.
MADD says that South Carolina is also consistently one of the worst states in the country for drunk driving. However, progress was made through new South Carolina DUI legislation in the state this year.
In November 2006, MADD launched its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. This campaign supports high visibility of law enforcement, mandatory ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers and the exploration of new technologies that it hopes will one day make cars inoperable by drunk drivers. MADD is also working to gain public support of its campaign.