With the release of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new 2010 drunk driving fatality data, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is pleased to announce that this decline in fatalities means that drunk driving deaths have now been cut by more than half since MADD’s founding 31 years ago.
New data from NHTSA shows that driving fatalities have dropped 4.9 percent from 10,759 in 2009 to 10,228 in 2010. The first-ever recording of drunk driving fatalities nationally was 21,113 in 1982.
“MADD is proud to see that the hard work of millions of Americans who’ve taken a stand against drunk driving have helped cut this deadly crime in half since our founding,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “However, one life impacted by this terrible crime is one life too many as there are still more than 10,000 drunk driving fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year.”
Withers’ daughter, Alisa, was killed by an underage drinking driver in 1992, leading Withers to join the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking.
Today’s announcement of a significant reduction in drunk driving fatalities marks another victory in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Launched in 2006, after more than a decade of stagnant fatality data, the Campaign has seen a 24 percent decrease in drunk driving fatalities in its first four years.
“More than 3,200 fewer people were killed last year than in the previous four years,” said Withers. “That’s 3,200 families who did not receive that terrible, life-changing call or visit from law enforcement letting them know their loved one wasn’t coming home again.”
In its long history, MADD has worked tirelessly to cut the number of fatalities in half. MADD’s grassroots efforts have supported landmark legislation such as the national .08 blood alcohol concentration standard and the 21 minimum drinking age. MADD and its many supporters have changed the culture in this country, from one that accepted drunk driving as a fact of life to one that recognizes drunk driving as a 100 percent preventable crime.
In 2009, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day, nearly 1,000 people were killed on America’s roadways. Unfortunately, millions of drivers still jeopardize their safety and the safety of others by driving under the influence.
That’s why during this holiday season, MADD continues to focus efforts on its Campaign to eliminate this primary threat to families on our roads, and support law enforcement as the nation prepares for a major crackdown on drunk driving.