15 States Cited by Safety Groups as Deadliest for Drunken Driving

November 30, 2005

The physician-led traffic safety advocacy group called End Needless Death on Our Roadways (END), and the National Safety Council, released their annual list of the 15 deadliest states in the country for impaired driving and reported that 13 states have made the dubious list for two years straight.

The Fatal Fifteen are states in which 41 percent or more of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related.

The Fatal Fifteen states in rank order are Rhode Island, Puerto Rico, Montana, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, South Carolina, Washington, South Dakota, Connecticut, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

States making the list for two years straight are Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin.

In addition, six states that have seen an increase and are near the Fatal Fifteen threshold were placed on a watch list. They are Arkansas, North Dakota, California, Missouri, New York, and New Mexico.

“Motorists are facing an epidemic of death on our roadways, and tragically many of these fatalities and serious injuries could have been prevented,” according to Dr. Andrea Barthwell, co-chairperson of END and Chief Medical Officer of Timberline Knolls, an adolescent girls treatment facility.

“While the holiday season is a time for excitement, celebration and family, it is also a time of impaired driving and senseless death and injury,” continued Barthwell.

“We are disappointed to report that 13 states on the Fatal Fifteen list have had the dubious distinction of making the list for two years straight. We urge leaders in these states and around the country to dedicate themselves to exploring new and innovative strategies for addressing impaired and other dangerous driving behaviors,” she added.

Statistics show that last year, nearly 17,000 motorists were killed nationwide in alcohol-related traffic crashes. Nearly 6,000 of those fatalities occurred in the Fatal Fifteen. Additionally, over 2,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 21 were killed last year in alcohol-related crashes nationwide.

“Statistics, however, do not begin to tell the story of the real pain and destruction caused by impaired drivers,” according to Dr. Thomas Esposito, co -chairperson of END and director of Loyola University Medical Center’s Injury Analysis and Prevention Program.

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