While drunken-driving deaths fell in 32 states in 2007, according to a government report, there is still a most serious problem nationwide. Nearly 13,000 people were killed in crashes in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit in the United States, or at higher levels. Overall, alcohol deaths were down nearly 4% compared with 2006, when nearly 13,500 people died on the highway. But alcohol-related fatalities increased among motorcycle riders in half the states. The increase in deaths involving drunk motorcycle riders has to be of concern. A total of 1,621 motorcyclists were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2007, an increase of 7.5%. We all saw that motorcycle riders were featured in the government’s $13 million advertising campaign surrounding the Labor Day holiday. Law enforcement agencies increased their enforcement against drunken driving during the end of the summer.
Among the states, California had 117 fewer alcohol-impaired driving deaths last year, the largest decrease in the nation. Texas had 108 fewer deaths and Arizona’s fatalities dropped by 63 deaths. North Carolina had 66 more deaths, the most among states, followed by South Carolina with 44 more fatalities than in the previous year. In addition to North Carolina and South Carolina, alcohol-impaired deaths increased in Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
The latest data followed requests from dozens of college presidents to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. They argue that the current laws lead to binge drinking on campus. Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, opposes these administrators’ effort and I agree with him. Repealing these laws is a bad idea and seems to be pretty dumb. Mr. Rosenker says that “age 21 drinking laws have been proven time and again effective in preventing deaths and injuries.” I believe he is 100% correct. I surely hope that the college presidents will back off their campaign to lower the drinking age to 18.
Source: Associated Press
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