Impact Of Drunk Driving
On Monday afternoon, while I was enjoying Labor Day with my family I received a call from a distraught driver. He told me of how he was driving through an intersection, on the green light, and was hit broad side by a drunk driver who ran the red light. The caller’s partner was killed in the collision. The next day, my wife and I were walking our dogs near our home when we noticed paint marks on the road of a busy intersection. I knew they meant that there had been a collision at the intersection, but I did not think much of it. As we walked on, we met my wife’s sister who lives near the intersection. She told us that a drunk driver had disregarded the stop sign and hit a motorcycle. The two Hoosiers on the motorcycle were killed.
What is going on? I know we have done much better in the last decade focusing attention on drunk driving collisions, but this destructive behavior continues to kill, maim and ruin lives. Consider these statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
More than a third of the people killed when an alcohol-impaired-driver* crashes are not the impaired drivers. In 2011, 9,878 people lost their lives because of drunk driving. These people make up one-third (31%) of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States. The total number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes has fallen, but the proportion of those fatalities that are from drunk-driving crashes has remained the same for the past 10 years.
Our attitudes on impaired driving have changed but we still have room for improvement. Forty years ago in a roadside survey of drivers, almost 1 in 12 (8%) were driving drunk. The most recent data (2007) from the same survey shows that rate is down to 1 in 50 (2%), which is good progress. Those impaired drivers still claim the lives of nearly 10,000 people a year – and one-third are their passengers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Drunk drivers cost our economy nearly $60 billion
Before you drink and drive, consider this- It can happen to you. 9,878 people is a good night for the Indianapolis Indians. Think about all those people, gone in the swig of a bottle. Do not drink and drive.