Aug 21, 2007

Alcohol-related crash fatalities essentially unchanged from 2005 to 2006, NHTSA says

Washington, D.C. – A new report by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says that 17,602 people were killed in the U.S. in 2006 in alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crashes, a number essentially unchanged from the 17,590 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005. Additionally, fatalities in crashes where the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) among any of the involved drivers, pedestrians or pedalcyclists was .08 or above increased marginally to 15,121 fatalities in 2006.

The 13,582 fatalities with BACs of .08 or above was the highest since 1993, when 13,739 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a .08 BAC or higher.

The report shows that in 2006, while drivers aged 21 to 34 constituted 31 per cent of all drivers involved, they constituted 43 per cent of all drivers in fatal crashes with .08 or higher BACs. The statistics also show a six per cent increase in the number of 16- to 20-year-olds at .08 BAC or higher. Male drivers comprised the majority, at 81 per cent, although the number of female drivers with BACs of .08 or higher increased by nine per cent, in spite of an overall three per cent drop in the number of female drivers involved in fatal crashes overall in 2006.

Vehicle-wise, drivers with BACs of .08 or higher involved in fatal crashes were in passenger cars in 43 per cent of crashes, and in light trucks or vans in 42 per cent of crashes. The number of drivers of SUVs involved in fatal crashes at or above .08 BAC increased by 14 per cent, while the number of drivers of passenger cars declined by eight per cent.

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