NTSB: Nation Stuck in 'Decade-Long Plateau' of Drunk Driving Deaths

More needs to be done to get drunk drivers off the nation's streets and highways. That was the message of National Transportation Safety Board Chair Mark V. Rosenker, testifying last week before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation Safety, Infrastructure Security, and Water Quality. Addressing the effectiveness of federal drunk driving programs, Rosenker noted that, "while alcohol-related fatalities have decreased since 1982, there has been little improvement in the last 10 years." The nation has been stuck in "a decade-long plateau" where alcohol-related fatalities are concerned, he said.

In 2006, 17,602 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. Rosenker said that "hard core drinking drivers"--those who drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or greater, or who are arrested for driving while impaired within 10 years of a prior DWI arrest--are involved in about 54 percent of those fatal crashes. In 2000, NTSB issued recommendations to all states aimed at hard core drinking drivers; the 11-element model program asks that states take action to reduce these preventable crashes and deaths, but currently only California, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah, and Virginia have implemented a sufficient number of elements to close the recommendation, he said, adding that action is needed in the remaining states.

"The NTSB has worked for years with the states to reduce drinking and driving, and we've had success, but more needs to be done," Rosenker said. "Impaired driving actions have been on our list of Most Wanted Safety Recommendations since its inception in 1990 and we have made recommendations for closing the loopholes in age 21 laws and enforcing those laws. We also recommended zero alcohol tolerance laws for underage drivers."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, since 1975, nearly 25,000 teen traffic deaths have been prevented by age 21 laws; however, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers and alcohol remains the leading drug of choice for youth. "Studies have shown that lowering the legal drinking age will increase the consumption of alcohol and alcohol-related accidents by young drivers," Rosenker said. "Why would we repeal or weaken laws that save lives?" The full text of Rosenker's speech is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/speeches/rosenker/mvr071025.html.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • The 4 Stages of an Incident Investigation

    So, your workplace has just experienced an incident resulting in the injury or illness of a worker. Now what? OSHA recommends that you conduct investigations of workplace incidents using a four-step system.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Industry Safe

Free Whitepaper

Stand Your Ground: A Guide to Slip Resistance in Industrial Safety Footwear

This white paper helps to clarify this complexity, so you can better navigate the standards and better ensure the safety of your employees.

Download Now →

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2019

    November/December 2019

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      Redefining Compliance for the Gas Detection Buyer
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Don't Trip Over the Basics
    • VISION PROTECTION
      What to Look for in Head-to-Toe PPE Solutions
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Effective PPE for Flammable Dust
    View This Issue