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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Montana Cracks Down On Drunk Driving

The northwestern states are known for many things, particularly big skies, cold weather, and a lot of alcohol. For years Montana lead the nation in per capita traffic fatalities related to alcohol. Wherever there is a lot of alcohol consumed and seemingly empty roads you will have drunk drivers on the road. Now, Montana has decided that it will crack down on drunk driving; back in 2003, officials rejected a ban on drinking beer while driving if the driver wasn't drunk. Unbelievably, up until 2005 it was legal to drive while consuming alcohol as long as the driver wasn't over the legal limit. The lack of strict laws on alcohol in Montana is the reason for the high drunk driving fatality rates throughout the state.

"In 2008, Montana had 229 drunk driving deaths -- more such deaths per miles traveled than any other state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By comparison, Rhode Island, a state with a similar number of inhabitants, had only 65". Just recently, a highway patrol officer was killed in a head on wreck with a drunk driver which has sparked a fire underneath the seats of law makers in the state. "The courts have gotten tougher on drunk drivers and bartenders who over-serve them, and a new pilot program in Helena requires repeat offenders to pay for daily alcohol tests".

Since Montana started to get tougher on drunk driving the fatalities involving alcohol are down 40 percent so far this year. It seems like the crackdown was long overdue, but, better late than not at all and hopefully the number of alcohol related fatalities continues to decrease. There will always be drunk driving deaths in the United States, but, with strict enforcement of laws lives can be saved. According to the Century Council, "Last year 43 states and D.C. had decreases in the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. While consumption rates have declined nationally, alcohol consumption among youth under the legal drinking age remain relatively unchanged".

Source:
AP

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