Drunk Driving Continues To Be A Serious Problem

The fight against drunk driving and underage drinking is still a major problem. There is both good and bad news on that front. The good news: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released new data on drunk driving fatalities. In 2011, for the first time since the agency started collecting data, there were fewer than 10,000 fatalities. To put that in perspective, when MADD was founded, there were more than 22,000 drunk driving fatalities each year. MADD’s continuing efforts have helped save over 300,000 lives and prevented millions of injuries since the organization was founded. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving is working. Since MADD started the Campaign in 2006, drunk driving deaths have decreased by more than 25 percent. However, the battle isn’t over.
The bad news: Preliminary data from the first half of 2012 shows a seven percent increase in traffic deaths. If fatalities continued to rise at that rate, almost 700 more people would die from drunk driving each year. Historical data suggests that as the economy improves, people drive more and they drive drunk more. But 700 more people killed by drunk driving and thousands more injured would be an increase never seen before.
MADD is redoubling its efforts in 2013 to reduce drunk driving. You can read about a few of these efforts in the March issue of The Road Ahead, including MADD legislative agenda for the year, the agency’s efforts to stop the next generation of drunk driving by helping to prevent underage drinking, and its efforts to help victims of drunk driving through both support services and by helping secure better rights for those impacted by crime. If any of our readers have suggestions on what MADD should be doing or ways the group could do things better, e-mail Jan Withers of MADD at jan.withers@madd.org.