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One Third of Traffic Deaths Caused by Alcohol

This month is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s campaign to raise awareness on the issue reminds all drivers that they should plan ahead and not put the lives of others at risk when consuming alcohol. Even though we all know the dangers of driving after drinking, alcohol is still the cause of almost one-third of fatal car accidents in the United States.

Every year over 13,000 people die in car accidents caused by alcohol impaired drivers. That statistic translates into about 36 people who die every day. Almost three in ten Americans will be in a car accident caused by alcohol at some point in their lives. Every year the cost of drunken driving totals $51 billion. That total only reflects those that cause accidents and arrested. Over 1.4 million drivers are arrested every year for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That figure only accounts for one percent of the 159 million drivers who self-reported as having driven under the influence every year.

Fortunately, state laws and community efforts have helped to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road. Minimum legal drinking age laws have reduced car accidents among people age 18 years of age by 16 percent. Sobriety checkpoints are even more effective and reduce fatal car wrecks by 22 percent. This holiday season be sure to plan ahead and designate a sober driver before attending a holiday party or celebration. If you plan on hosting a party or holiday celebration, be a good host by making sure all of your guests travel home safely with a sober driver.

Source: cdc.gov, “National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month,” 12/1/10

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