DUI fatalities down nationally, in 32 states, DOT says

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New national figures released by the U.S. Department of Transportation Thursday, Aug. 28, show a significant decline in the number of drunk driving-related fatalities occurring nationally and in 32 individual states. However, the number of alcohol-related fatalities among motorcyclists is climbing in half of the states.

“More drivers are getting the message that if you drink and drive, you will be caught, you will be arrested, and you will go to jail,” said Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. “But as good as this progress is, in this day and age there is simply no excuse for someone to drink and then drive.”

Last year, an estimated 12,998 people were killed in crashes where a vehicle operator had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, representing a 3.7 percent decline from the 13,491 fatalities in 2006. However, figures showing that 25 states experienced an increase in the number of drunk motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes was disappointing, Peters said.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advertising campaign this year will include media outlets and information sources that are most likely to reach high-risk demographic groups. The agency is using more Web-based outreach, teaming up with alternative media partners. The new ads are being seen on message banners on well-known social media sites, Internet TV programming, mobile devices and PC-based video games.

NHTSA’s new statistical report on 2007 alcohol-related fatalities is drawn from the agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and can be viewed at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811016.PDF.