Drunk, Distracted or Drowsy?
Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog
The President of MADD was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying: "We don't want cell phones and drowsy driving to become the next hot-button issue for the country, because they don't even compare with the problem of drunk driving." The response of the Partnership for Safe Driving, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C.:
Let's examine the claim. During the year 2001, the government estimates that 17,448 - or 41 percent - of the deaths on our nation's highways were "alcohol-related." In addition, approximately 275,000 - or 16 percent - of the injuries were attributed to alcohol. Since the rate of fatalities is so high, and so much higher than the rate of injuries, let's take a closer look at that statistic.
Of the 17,448 fatalities, 2,555 occurred in crashes where alcohol was detected but no one was over the legal limit. In these crashes, alcohol may not have been the primary factor in the crash; speed, distraction or fatigue could have been.
That leaves 14,893 deaths that can actually be attributed to alcohol. However, of these, 1,770 were intoxicated pedestrians and cyclists who walked out in front of the vehicles of sober drivers. They had nothing to do with drunk driving. The Partnership questions why these deaths were thrown in with what is normally presented as a drunk driving statistic.
That leaves 13,123 deaths that can be attributed to intoxicated drivers. Of these, a staggering 8,308 were intoxicated drivers who killed themselves in crashes.
That leaves 4,815 deaths in which intoxicated drivers killed someone other than themselves....
How do these figures compare with cell phone use?
To date, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis