NHTSA report shows alcohol-related fatalities declining, but still high
In August 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released â€śAlcohol-Related Fatalities in 2004,â€ť a preliminary summary based on early results from the 2004 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). In the summary, the NHTSA reported that fatal motor vehicle crashes declined nationally by 1.8% for â€śhigh-alcoholâ€ť crashes (Blood Alcohol Level .08+) and 2.4% for â€śalcohol-relatedâ€ť (BAC .01+). In real numbers, this represents 289 and 411 less fatalities respectively.
The majority of fatal alcohol-related crashes (79%) occurred when only drivers had a BAC of .01+, while 10% occurred when motorcycle operators only had alcohol. About 8% involved â€śnonoccupantsâ€ť including pedestrians and bicyclists as the only involved persons with a BAC of .01 or higher.
Of all fatal accidents, about half of the fatalities were drivers who had alcohol, and 17% were their passengers. About 8% involved motorcyclists who had been drinking, and 12% involved intoxicated nonoccupants. A full 87% of fatal accidents in 2004 were alcohol-related.
The report also broke down the numbers by state. In total, 32 states plus the District of Columbia had a decline in alcohol-related accidents. Texas had the largest decrease (129) of alcohol-related fatalities, while Tennessee had the largest increase (76). Percentage-wise, the District of Columbia had the largest decrease (-49%) and Utah had the highest increase (53.2%).
Still there were 16,694 people killed in alcohol-related accidents, and most (14,409) were high-alcohol accidents where one or more involved persons had a BAC of .08 or higher. Campaigns against drinking and driving may be starting to take effect, but this is only the second year in a row of decline from the nationâ€™s all-time high of 17,524 people killed in alcohol-related accidents in 2002. Clearly there are still negligent drivers traveling our roadways with little or no concern for the other drivers and pedestrians who share the road. Until â€śzero-toleranceâ€ť policies finally do become zero-tolerance, innocent victims will continue to be killed or seriously injured.
If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a drunk driver, contact a personal injury lawyer and motor vehicle experts at Jim S. Adler & Associates. We have more than 30 years of litigation experience, getting our clients the financial compensation they need and deserve to cover medical expenses, lost work, and mental anguish.Â Contact Jim S. Adler & Associates right now for a free case review. Find out your rights, and how we can protect them for you.
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