New US NHTSA study shows majority of drunk driving deaths linked to BAC level nearly twice the legal limit
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined with local law enforcement officers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Center for DWI Courts to mark the official start of its annual anti-drunk driving campaign: ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’. The nationwide crackdown comes as new agency statistics show 70% of deaths in drunk driving crashes in 2010 involved drivers with blood alcohol levels that were nearly twice the .08 legal limit.
More than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country are supporting the campaign which began 17 August.
New NHTSA research indicates the 10,228 alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2010 accounted for nearly one out of three highway deaths on US roads. During the same time period, more than two thirds of drunk driving deaths (7,145 or 70%) involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher. Overall, the most frequently recorded BAC among drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes was .18 BAC.
As part of its overall programme to address drunk driving, NHTSA has also worked with the National Center for DWI Courts to help develop new ignition interlock guidelines, which were released in July. The new guidelines help familiarise courts that adjudicate ‘driving while intoxicated’ cases with ignition interlock systems and applicable state laws.