A new report released last month by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that alcohol-related fatalities dropped significantly in 2003, the first such decline since 1999. The number of alcohol-involved drivers in fatal crashes of passenger cars declined by 6 percent. The median blood alcohol concentration (BAC) value for alcohol-involved drivers was 0.16 BAC, which means more than half of all alcohol-involved drivers had a BAC higher than twice the legal limit in most states. About 1,240 fatalities occurred in crashes involving alcohol-impaired or intoxicated driver(s) who had at least one previous DWI conviction, which is down from 1,356 in 2002. These crashes account for 7 percent of all alcohol-related fatalities for 2003.
The National Beer Wholesalers Association issued a statement commending the industry and others for efforts to reduce drunk driving. “America’s beer wholesalers have worked hard to fight drunk driving fatalities over the past two decades. This data indicates that those efforts, combined with the actions of law enforcement, community leaders and responsible consumers, have been very successful,” said NBWA President David Rehr. “From free taxi cab rides home to designated driver programs, beer wholesalers will continue to move in the right direction to keep our roads safe and keep hardcore drunk drivers and repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel.”