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DUI Deaths Hit Record Low

1999 Fatalities Were Lowest Since 1982

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Updated November 21, 2003

Alcohol-related traffic deaths decreased in 1999 to the fewest since record-keeping began in 1982, but still accounted for more than one-third of all U.S. traffic fatalities.

In 1998, 15,935 people died and 305,000 were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's reported in the December 3, 1999 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The number of fatal motor-vehicle crashes involving alcohol decreased by just under two percent between 1997 to 1998 -- but far short of the target of 5.8 percent decrease the CDC wants to meet national health objectives for 2000.

In Perspective

Although alcohol-related deaths have declined steadily over the past 15 years, 1999 Mothers Against Drunk Driving president Karolyn Nunnallee said the statistics show that Americans have "become complacent about the drunk driving issue."

Nunnallee put the 15,935 deaths into perspective this way, "When one person is killed every 33 minutes in this country -- that's the equivalent of two jumbo jets crashing and all the occupants perishing each week. If that happened in this country, the American public would be up in arms -- every airplane on the planet would be grounded."

"Drunk driving is the most frequently-committed violent crime in this country," she told Reuters Health. "It's something that the nation must get serious about and stay serious about."

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