Federal study shows Ga. with fewer DUI deaths in 2011

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal study shows Georgia ranks below the national average and Southeastern states in alcohol-related traffic fatalities for 2011.

The data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that from 2010 to 2011, the state experienced 24 fewer traffic deaths, which accounts for a 1.9 percent reduction; and 22 fewer alcohol-impaired driving deaths, which represents a 7.4 percent reduction. Georgia was shown to be 5 percent better than the national average of total reduction in alcohol-related fatalities.

“This data just further indicates that Georgia’s aggressive enforcement of DUI law is working,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “But this good news doesn’t mean we’ll ease up on our state’s impaired drivers. We have more work to do and we’ll continue to crack down on DUIs 365 days a year.”

Overall from 2010 to 2011, the nation experienced 632 fewer traffic fatalities, which represents a 1.9 percent reduction. There were also 258 fewer alcohol-related driving deaths, which represents a 2.5 percent reduction.

Georgia, however, is still on track to experience an increase in fatalities for 2012 for the first time in six years. As of Dec. 13, Georgia has experienced 67 more traffic fatalities than at the same time last year. In total, the state experienced 1,236 traffic deaths in 2011.

While the loss of life is tragic enough, drunk driving can also create a tremendous financial burden. Statistics show that the average cost of a DUI can climb to nearly $10,000.

Georgia’s annual holiday campaign of Operation Zero Tolerance lasted through New Year’s Day.

Visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.