There were 41,059 deaths in 2007 on our nation’s highways and 12,998 of the deaths were caused by drunk drivers. Of the 1,100 traffic-related deaths in Alabama, 389 were related to drunk driving. I don’t have the totals so far for 2008, but expect the numbers to be pretty much in line with those for 2007. MADD, the organization that is dedicated to making our highways safer, reports that the annual cost of alcohol-related highway crashes was $114.3 billion nationwide in 2007. MADD also says that according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, families across the country are sharing the highways with 2 million drunk drivers with three or more DUI convictions, and of those, 400,000 have five or more convictions. That is not good and it obviously puts innocent folks at great risk of injury or death when they use our highways.
A recent survey ranks states based on their percent of total traffic deaths that involve a drunk driver. The rankings come from objective federal data. Alabama was number 40 on the list with 35% of deaths involving drunk drivers. While there was a 3.2% improvement in drunk driving deaths over 2006, however, this is not a good report for my state. Alabama is currently one of three states not to have an interlock law on the books. North Dakota was the worst state in the ranking, edging out South Carolina. Utah was the best of the states followed by Iowa and Kentucky.
I urge all of our readers to support MADD with a financial gift before year’s end and to contact Legislators asking them to pass the necessary laws which will help make our highways safer. If you want more information on MADD’s campaign to eliminate drunk drivers, go to WWW.MADD.ORG.
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