Alcohol-Related Deaths Increase

October 2001

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released statistics that show that alcohol-related fatalities have risen for the first time in 20 years. These statistics highlight the fact that the war against drunk driving is going in the wrong direction.

In recent years, many new “solutions” were promoted by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). These solutions were heralded as life-saving measures. Looking at the NHTSA statistics, it becomes apparent that these proposals did not live up to their promise.

NMA Communications Director, Eric Skrum said, “It is time to focus on the real problem, those who are truly impaired on our roads. Our nation has wasted resources that should have been utilized in apprehending and punishing dangerous drivers. Instead, the nation has followed the prohibitionist movement propagated by MADD and punished drivers who were not a danger to themselves or others.”

Skrum continued, “MADD advocates such actions as lowering the blood alcohol content level to .08 percent, and they have succeeded in doing so in many states. Has this reduced fatalities? NHTSA’s own numbers show that they haven’t. Why? According to federal statistics, the vast majority of serious alcohol-related accidents and fatalities are at .17 percent and above. But MADD and NHTSA have us squandering precious resources on actions that obviously aren’t solutions.

“With traffic increasing on our roadways, now is the time to focus on meaningful solutions to traffic safety problems. We need to target the real causes of traffic accidents, rather than wasting our resources on actions that harass and punish safe drivers and don’t reduce fatalities.”