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Monday, August 20, 2007

What's Up is Actually Down: Why You Can't Trust Headline Writers

The Associated Press article on the USA Today website screams "Drunken Driving Deaths Up in 22 States." I'm not a math whiz, but that would suggest the deaths related to drunken driving might actually be down in 28 states.

Sure enough, the statistics show that deaths are down overall and in 28 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sadly, the data shows there were 13,470 deaths in 2006 involving automobile and motorcycle operators with blood alcohol contents above 0.08. In 2005, 13,582 people died in crashes involving legally drunk drivers. The statistics do not take into account other factors in the crashes or who may have been at fault in the accidents.

The federal government plans to spend $11 million on an anti-drunk driving campaign called "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest."

The message for all of us should be to know our limits and to take the keys from friends before they drive drunk. Propaganda and half baked headlines, however, don't make the roads any safer.

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