DUI Fatalities Down in 32 States, Advertising Blitz Underway

New national figures released recently show a significant decline in the number of drunk driving-related fatalities occurring nationally and in 32 individual states, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced. However, the secretary noted that the number of alcohol-related fatalities among motorcyclists is climbing in half of the states.

"More drivers are getting the message that if you drink and drive, you will be caught, you will be arrested, and you will go to jail," Peters said. "But as good as this progress is, in this day and age there is simply no excuse for someone to drink and then drive."

Peters noted that last year an estimated 12,998 people were killed in crashes where a vehicle operator had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, representing a 3.7 percent decline from the 13,491 fatalities in 2006. However, figures showing that 25 states experienced an increase in the number of drunk motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes was disappointing, Peters added.

The secretary added that the department was working with law enforcement agencies across the nation to launch stepped-up drunk driving enforcement efforts during the Labor Day holiday period and was investing $13 million in advertising during the holiday weekend to deliver the message, "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest."

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advertising campaign this year will include media outlets and information sources that are most likely to reach high risk demographic groups. The agency is using more web-based outreach, teaming up with alternative media partners. The new ads are being seen on message banners on well-known social media sites, Internet TV programming, mobile devices and even PC-based video games.

Peters also reminded drivers--and motorcycle riders--attending holiday gatherings that if they plan to drink, that they make arrangements for a ride home with a sober driver.

NHTSA’s new statistical report on 2007 alcohol-related fatalities is drawn from the agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and can be viewed at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811016.PDF. To view the campaign materials click here.

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