Mississippi Ninth on DUI List

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Mississippi has the ninth-highest drunken driving fatality rate in the nation, despite a drop of 63 percent over the past 20 years, and it's on the rise.

In 2002, 332 people in Mississippi died in drunk driving accidents, according to a new report by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The .91 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is a 63 percent drop from 1982, when Mississippi was fifth in the country in drunken driving deaths.

The national percentage also dropped by 63 percent for that period.

Even with the two-decade drop, only eight states and Puerto Rico had a higher fatality rate than Mississippi in 2002.

The national average for that year was point-61 deaths per 100 million miles. Puerto Rico had the highest rate at one-point-33. Vermont had the lowest at .28.

Mississippi's alcohol-related fatality rate also rose compared to 2001, when drunken drivers killed 277 people in the state.

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Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

  • Legal drinking age in the United States is 21.

  • Forty-six states have "Zero Tolerance Laws" for underage drinking and driving, meaning that drivers under 21 years of age are considered to be legally intoxicated with a much lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that drivers who are 21 or older.

  • BAC varies from 0.00 to 0.02 depending on the state.

  • Illinois has a BAC of 0.00 for drivers under 21, which can be broken from as little as one drink.

  • For drivers 21 and over, the BAC is 0.08.

  • If charged with a DUI, the offender can have his or her license suspended for 90 days to one year, and pay fines of up to $1,000.

  • Fines and jail time can increase significantly if you injure someone or cause major damage.

  • Second and subsequent offenses may be dramatically more severe.

  • Affect on Insurance: If your license is suspended, your insurance company (preferred carrier) will drop you and your entire family.

  • If you get your license back, you will pay 40-60 percent higher rates.

  • In Illinois, a DUI stays on your record for 5-7 years.

Source: www.whatsdrivingyou.org contributed to this report