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In the early morning hours today, a Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Deputy was struck by a suspected drunk driver in Lake Worth. Yes, you heard correctly. I used “drunk driver” in the same sentence as “early morning”.

It is our hope that the Deputy in the patrol car was not badly injured. It is not enough that these brave public servants must dodge bullets in the course of their duties, but they now must also be vigilante for deadly drunk drivers; even right around breakfast.

The drunk driving problem is a significant and costly problem; both in terms of lost life and injured victims. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that:

  • someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes
  • In 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving related crashes
  • in 2007, there were 13,041 drunk driving related fatalities
  • Over 1.46 million drivers were arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 139 licensed drivers in the United States
  • Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost the public an estimated $114.3 billion
  • In 2007, 31.6 percent of the 41,059 traffic fatalities occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or nonoccupant had a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or greater
  • A first time drunk driving offender on average has driven drunk 87 times prior to being arrested

MADD has several recommendations worthy of consideration for eliminating drunk driving, including mandatory ignition interlocks, increased law enforcement, advanced vehicle technology and continued public support.

Our best wishes go to the Palm Beach County Deputy and our hopes that he was uninjured in this unnecessary accident.

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