Perplexed by Drinking and Driving Deaths

Concerned by persistent drinking and driving deaths in the US, the Inspector General of the Transportation Department’s Office has embarked on a study of drunken driving and the effectiveness of recent efforts to reduce alcohol related fatalities.

Despite lower BAC levels across the nation and numerous state and federal anti-drunk driving programs, the total alcohol related fatality rate has not dropped significantly in recent years, despite a previously steady decline since 1982. And the government wants to know why.


“Despite the combined efforts of federal and state safety officials, 2003 was the sixth consecutive year with no discernible progress in reducing alcohol-related crashes and fatalities,” the Office of Inspector General noted.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 17,013 of our fellow citizens died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in 2003. This amounts to a whopping 40 percent of all traffic fatalities that were alcohol-related.

The Transportation Department will study existing state and federal anti-drunk driving programs, and will compare drunk driving problems in states with different enforcement policies, and calculate all the federal resources in use.