Drunk Driving Deaths Increase By 5 Percent
December 10, 2002
With alcohol-related traffic deaths on the rise, the United States earned a "C" grade in the war on drunk driving, according to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Rating the States report. The last time MADD issued the report was in 1999 when the nation earned a "C+" grade.
The report also noted:
- Over the past three years, drunk driving deaths have climbed by five percent.
- Last year, 17,448 were killed in alcohol-related crashes -- representing 41 percent of all traffic deaths.
- More than 500,000 Americans are injured annually in crashes involving alcohol, and the annual economic cost of alcohol-related crashes exceeds $114 billion.
- No state earned an "A" in this year's report. California received the highest grade of a "B+," followed by Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Oregon, which received "B" grades.
- The only state to receive a failing "F" grade was Montana, while the District of Columbia received a "D+," North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina and South Dakota received a "D" and Alaska and Massachusetts received a "D-."
The report urged the nation to adopt MADD's eight-point plan to jump-start the war on drunk driving, calling for widespread use of sobriety checkpoints and other highly visible enforcement efforts, tougher laws for the more serious DUI offenders, court monitoring programs, higher beer excise taxes, enacting stronger seat belt laws, reducing underage drinking, and establishing a National Traffic Safety Fund to support education and enforcement programs.
Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), "Rating the States Report," November 2002.
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