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M.A.D.D. Says Drunken Driving Fatalities On the Rise

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, drunk and drugged driving fatalities had been on a downward for six years. Read on to learn more.

By Jody Iorns, Mothers Against Drunk Driving—

10 a.m. in the morning? A fatal crash because the driver is alleged to have been drunk at 10 a.m. in the morning? Stunning and heartbreaking. This question has been posed in connection with the Wednesday morning crash on 580 and is one of way too many the past few months. 

[Related article: UPDATE: Driver Involved in Fatal I-580 Collision Arrested on Suspicion of Drunken Driving]

It seems like every day we hear of yet another DUI related crash and it seems a bit more than normal. And, it is. Drunk and drugged driving fatalities have risen in 2012 by 5% after a downward trend the preceding 6 years. 

[Related article: Driver Killed in Fiery I-580 Collision Identified]

Here in the Bay Area, you simply have to watch the news on a daily basis to see the statistics come to life. In the last 2 and a half months alone, we here at MADD SF Bay Area have been able to track 13 alleged DUI involved fatal/injury crashes killing 15 people and injuring another 6. One of the crashes wiped out an entire family save the 9-year-old son.

The fact that this recent crash occurred at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday morning only underscores the very simple fact that drunk and drugged driving crashes are non-discriminatory: they occur anywhere, anytime, to anyone.

This is a sad subject during such a joyous and celebratory time of year. Yet it is out of these very celebrations and the planning of them that too many of these tragedies derive. And it is even more important to be aware that for the hundreds of thousands of families who are facing the holidays without a loved one, these purely preventable crashes have brought an unwelcome and unending element of sadness, despair and loss. 

Here are some interesting notes:
• 73% people have been at an event where they have seen someone try to drive home after 
having too much to drink. 
• 28.6 million people admit to driving under the influence in the past year.
• The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve sees an increase of DUI fatalities by 40%.
• 10,322 people were killed and 350,000 injured in DUI related crashes in 2012.

These numbers are staggering yet completely preventable. We as a community must double down our efforts, our commitment, and strengthen our courage to put an end to drunk driving. We have the power to do so through the choices we make – designate a sober driver, be a sober designated driver, take the keys away and plan, plan, plan ahead. Most importantly, plan when you are sober.

Drunk driving is so prevalent many believe we have become almost immune to it. We shake our heads and say a word of thanks that it hasn’t happened to me. But unless things change significantly in our attitudes and approach, each of us has a 1-in-3 chance of becoming one of the statistics. You, too, 
can become a member our club – and though our arms and hearts will welcome you, we really would rather meet you under much happier and joyous of occasions.

Earlier, I suggested that “it seems a bit more than normal.” How sad it is that there is a potentially accepted “normal” for drunk driving. We believe this crime is purely preventable and it takes action, communication and commitment to eliminate this crime. Take action and do it today - you can 
visit our website at: http://www.madd.org/local-offices/ca/bay-area/ where you will find resources for “planning ahead” and other great party planning tips. 

Finally, you can donate online as well by clicking on the BIG red box “Donate Now.” 

If you would like to ensure your donation stays local, please donate
to: MADD SF Bay Area, 7027 Dublin Blvd., #110, Dublin, CA 94568; 925-452-8752 or jody.iorns@madd.org. 

We truly wish for you a holiday season filled with love, hope and safety.

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