Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths Fall Again; Non-Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities Rise Again

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped by 411 during 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

On the other hand, traffic fatalities that were not alcohol-related actually increased again. If alcohol-related fatalities had not dropped by a number (411) larger than the increase in non-alcohol-related fatalities (163), the overall number of traffic deaths would have gone up instead of down.

In addition, the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes dropped significantly even though the number of drivers, the number of vehicles, and the number of miles traveled all went up.

The dramatic reductions in alcohol-related traffic accidents suggests the need to turn more attention to other causes of driver impairment. For example, research has demonstrated that talking on a cell phone is much more dangerous than driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08. Drugged driving is also a serious but overlooked cause of vehicular deaths and injuries. And there are many other major causes of traffic fatalities that are virtually ignored.

We should be reducing all major causes of driver impairment.

People killed by cell phone users are just as dead as those killed by drunken drivers.


  • Thomas, Ken. Alcohol-related deaths on highways fall. Newsday, august 2, 2005; Highways see more drivers, fewer deaths, Houston Chronicle, August 1, 2005; Alcohol-related highway deaths decline, Washington Times, August 2, 2005.

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving