Unfortunately, Alabama is one of the states mentioned above with an increase in alcohol-related deaths in 2007. Even though there is some improvement nationally, drunken drivers are a real problem in Alabama. Of 1,110 highway deaths last year, 475 — more than 42% — were alcohol-related and that’s far too many. Col. Chris Murphy, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety says DUIs are “fatalities waiting to happen.” He observed further: “I hate that the number is that high, but drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. A car becomes a weapon.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Alabama ranked eighth in 2006 among states with the highest number of alcohol-related road deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The data include drunken pedestrians. The maximum legal blood-alcohol level under Alabama law is 0.08 grams per deciliter or above. The average blood-alcohol level of drunken drivers arrested by Alabama State Troopers is 1.4 to 1.5 with the highest being 2.2.
As reported last month, the Alabama Department of Public Safety has bought nine specialized vans called “BATmobiles” which are equipped to test the alcohol levels of drivers on the side of the road. Col. Murphy says those vehicles are timesavers because taking a suspected drunken driver for a breath test can cost troopers up to four hours. Using these vehicles will free up troopers to work the roads. The vehicles also ensure that troopers accurately capture the driver’s condition while they’re operating a vehicle. Two of the new BATmobiles were used at checkpoints during the “Take Back Our Highways” blitz prior to Labor Day. There were 77 DUI arrests as of August 21st during that campaign. Statistics reveal that most DUI arrests happen between midnight and 4 a.m. But troopers say they see drunken drivers from all walks of life on the roads at all hours of the day. This is unacceptable by anybody’s standards and we must all get involved in an all out effort to put a stop to the carnage on our highways caused by drunk drivers.
Source: Associated Press
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