NHTSA Statistics Show a Decrease of Drunk Driving Deaths in 28 States
By: Chris Kramer
Though the number of fatalities related to driving under the influence has historically been declining, in recent years, that decline has become gradual. And, new statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, confirm that overall numbers of DUI fatalities continue to fall gradually.
According to the new report, drunk driving fatalities in 2006 increased in 22 states and dropped in 28 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Overall, 13,470 related deaths occurred in 2006 involving drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The number of deaths that occurred involving drivers with any amount of alcohol in their blood (i.e., even below the legal BAC limit) was 17,602.
These figures include drivers of any type of motor vehicle, including motorcycles, as well as others involved in fatal crashes related to DUI, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The numbers of those over the national BAC limit of .08 prove to be slightly lower than the numbers from 2005, when 13,582 individuals were involved in fatal crashes of motor vehicles. Those with any alcohol in their blood were slightly up, from 17,590 in 2005.
As far as specific states are concerned, Arizona, Kansas and Texas showed the greatest increases in number of fatal DUI accidents during the past year, while Utah, Kansas and Iowa had the largest percentage increases compared to the previous year. Texas had the largest actual number drunk driving deaths with a total of 1,354.
On the other hand, Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania displayed the greatest decreases in numbers of DUI-related deaths last year. The District of Columbia, Alaska and Delaware had the largest percentage decreases compared to 2005. Perhaps in some part due to its tiny geographical size, the District of Columbia featured the smallest actual number of DUI-related deaths with a total of 12.
The NHTSA announcement came at the same time as the launch of a new campaign just in time for Labor Day, which is historically one of the prime times of the year for DUI arrests and accidents. The campaign's slogan is simple: "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest."