U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Drunk-Driving Fatalities Down Nearly 10%

Beer Industry Continues Efforts to Promote Responsible Drinking

Jul 07, 2009, 15:10 ET from The Beer Institute

WASHINGTON, July 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the number of overall traffic fatalities reported in 2008 hit their lowest level since 1961. Drunk-driving fatalities -- those in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater -- declined by 9.7 percent in 2008.

There was also a 9.7 percent decline in the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, from 41,259 in 2007 to 37,261. This decline of 3,998 fatalities is the largest annual reduction in terms of both number and percentage since 1982, according to the DOT. There was also a decrease in total injuries from 2.49 million in 2007 to 2.35 million in 2008.

"These numbers are headed in the right direction, but there is much more work to be done," said Beer Institute President Jeff Becker. "Brewers and beer importers work closely with lawmakers, law enforcement, community groups, and others to help prevent alcohol abuse. Through this shared commitment and as this new data shows, there has been declines in drunk driving that we must all strive to continue."

Becker emphasized, "We drive the same highways as everyone else, and we all want to see this problem be solved. Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable, and we call upon even more individuals and organizations to join us in this ongoing effort."

Since 1982, the brewing industry and its independent distributors nationwide have invested more than three-quarters of a billion dollars promoting responsibility and fighting alcohol abuse, including drunk driving and illegal underage drinking.

The 2008 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment also includes state data. For more information on the data, please visit: http:/www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811172.pdf

For more information on the beer industry's responsibility initiatives, visit www.beerinstitute.org

SOURCE The Beer Institute