A new study has found that the number one cause for traffic fatalities in the United States may be underreported, despite the already staggering numbers of drunk driving deaths on record each year.
Researchers comparing data from the National High Traffic Safety Administration with state and local death certificate reporting found a major discrepancy between the number of drunk driving crashes involving a fatality (from the NHTSA) and the number of deaths attributed to drunk driving (on the certificates). In fact, there are as many as seven times more deaths caused by drunk driving than are recorded on death certificates.
The findings have led more experts and advocates to support lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05. Many are concerned that the state and local data discrepancies are skewing the public’s view of the issue and making it harder to create effective policies to reduce fatal drunk driving car crashes.
Drunk driving is clearly a serious problem in the United States that must be tackled on the policy level. However, that does not take away from the personal responsibility of each individual who chooses to drink and drive, an action which puts other innocent parties at risk of death or injury. People who have been injured in drunk driving crashes or the family members of those killed by a drunk driver have a right to seek answer and accountability from the person who was at fault. Often this takes the form of a civil legal action between the victim and the drunk driver.
Source: Think Progress, “The Surprising Issue That May Be Holding Back Effective Drunk Driving Laws,” Sy Mukherjee, March 24, 2014.