Drink, Drive, Lose

By: George McDonald
By: George McDonald

City streets, county roads and state highways are quite busy during the summer months.

And with even more people expected to be on our roadways during the three-day 4th of July weekend, the Meridian Police Department, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department are teaming up for a holiday crackdown.

During the 4th of July, area law enforcement will saturate area roadways to ensure that pedestrians and motorists alike are safe from drunk drivers. .

"We hire people to come in and work extra hours in order to do the roadside safety checks, so in addition to the normal patrol shift that we have extra people on the street," said Capt. Tick McCary of the Meridian Police Department.

According to statistics, in 2002, 42% of all crashes in the U.S. were determined to be alcohol-related, resulting in a tremendous loss of life, pain and suffering.

Police officials say that the impaired rate tends to be higher during the 4th of July holiday.

"This particular campaign is going to go from June 27 through July 13. We don't care who you are or who you know. If you drink, you drive, you lose," said McCary.

The crackdown is a part of a national campaign run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Drunk Driving Statistics

  • Traffic fatalities in alcohol-related crashes rose by four percent from 1999 to 2000.

  • The 16,653 alcohol-related fatalities in 2000 (40 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year) represent a 25 percent reduction from the 22,084 alcohol-related fatalities reported in 1990 (50 percent of the total).

  • NHTSA estimates that alcohol was involved in 40 percent of fatal crashes and in eight percent of all crashes in 2000.

  • The 16,653 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 2000 represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 32 minutes.

  • An estimated 310,000 persons were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured approximately every two minutes.

  • Approximately 1.5 million drivers were arrested in 1999 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

  • This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 121 licensed drivers in the United States.

  • About 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.

  • In 2000, 31 percent of all traffic fatalities occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or nonoccupant had a BAC of 0.10 g/dl or greater. Sixty-nine percent of the 12,892 people killed in such crashes were themselves intoxicated. The remaining 31 percent were passengers, nonintoxicated drivers, or nonintoxicated nonoccupants.

  • In the state of Kentucky, there were 820 total fatalities in 2000. Of those, 203 had a BAC greater than or equal to 0.10, which accounted for 25 percent of the total fatalities.

Source: www.nhtsa.dot.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site) contributed to this report.


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