The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released data showing that from 2002 to 2006, nearly 4 in 10 roadway fatalities in the last two weeks of December were related to alcohol use. NHTSA Acting Administrator David Kelly called drunk driving "one of the most serious, and preventable, dangers we face on our roadways," as he launched the administration's holiday crackdown on December 17.
NHTSA research shows that drivers aged 21-24 were most likely to be alcohol impaired when involved in a fatal car accident. Thirty-five percent of drivers in this age group were alcohol-impaired when their accident occurred, as opposed to 18 % of 15-20 year-olds and 29 % of 25-34 year-olds. In Alabama, this percentage is even higher, with 38 % of 21 to 24 year-olds being alcohol impaired when involved in a fatal accident.
This data also follows an NHTSA report earlier this year that restricting the drinking age to 21 has probably saved a total of nearly 4500 lives nationwide during the five year period from 2003 to 2007. This is in addition to the estimated 15,000 lives saved every year by seat belts. In Alabama alone it is estimated that seat belts save 400 lives a year, and that another 188 could be saved by full seatbelt use.
For more information about accidents involving impaired drivers, please click this link to the Moore & Wolfe MVA Resource Center.