It only takes a quick look at the local news to realize that Florida has a drunk driving problem, just like the rest of the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently a published a Research Note on Fatalities and Fatality Rates in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Crashes. The study looked at the total number of deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes and compared that to the number of deaths resulting from crashes where alcohol was involved. The report defined an alcohol impaired crash death as a crash involving at least one driver or operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter.
The government estimates that 2,978 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Florida in 2008. Crashes involving drunk drivers account for 875 of the 2,978 deaths. The good news is that NHTSA reported that the alcohol impaired driving fatality rate declined in 40 states. The bad news is that Florida is one of only 10 states where the alcohol fatality rate either stayed the same or increased. From 2007 to 2008, the alcohol impaired driving fatality rate declined nationally from 0.43 to 0.40 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled. However, Florida’s alcohol impaired driving fatality rate is higher than the national average. From 2007 to 2008, it remained unchanged at 0.44 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled. Floridians should strive to reduce the alcohol impaired driving fatality rate; to do nothing will be fatal.
Floridians who want to help reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities should consider donating or volunteering with a local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).