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5/30/2007
US, UK Drunk Driving Fatalities Rise
Drunk driving deaths are on the rise in both the US and UK despite the use of ever more draconian punishments for DUI.

Fatalities chartThe increasing use of drunk driving roadblocks and the imposition of ever more severe penalties on those accused of driving while intoxicated have failed to reduce fatalities in either the United States or the United Kingdom. Overall, US road fatalities dropped slightly last year -- by 0.7 percent. In 2005, there were 1.45 people killed for every one-hundred million miles traveled, compared to 1.44 in 2006, according to preliminary statistics released Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While the overall safety picture improved, the number of individuals involved in a fatal accident where either the driver or a passenger was intoxicated increased 3.2 percent from 0.50 to 0.52 fatalities per one-hundred million miles traveled.

The figures come as a blow to efforts by pressure group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) which has been the driving force behind federal and state policies on drunk driving.

"Despite unfair laws, harsh penalties, false evidence and a prevailing 'DUI exception to the Constitution,' the rate of alcohol-related fatalities is actually increasing," wrote attorney Lawrence Taylor, author of the DUIBlog website. "To again quote Mr. Einstein's definition of 'insanity': 'Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.'"

The UK's efforts have seen similarly dismal results with numbers rising to levels not seen in a decade. From 1996 to 1999, the number of alcohol related deaths from 580 to 460 annually. Last year, however, the number shot back up to 550 deaths, according to numbers leaked to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Road safety advocate Paul Smith of Safe Speed blamed the UK figures on an over reliance on speed cameras and a neglect of traditional road policing.

The NHTSA report is available in a 2.4mb PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities and People Injured (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5/30/2007)

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