Researchers found that drunk driving deaths may actually be under-reported in the U.S. In the study, researchers analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data that recorded the blood alcohol level of victims who died in car accidents. The researchers then compared this NHTSA data to data contained in death certificates which listed alcohol as a contributing factor, reports CBS.
For a ten-year period between 1999 and 2009, researchers found that a little over three percent of death certificates listed alcohol as a contributing factor in a fatal car accident. However, the NHTSA data indicated that 21 percent of victims of fatal car crashes during that period were due to drunk driving.
The authors of the study that was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs offered that the discrepancy may be due to the fact that it can take a long time to get blood alcohol test results. As death certificates are usually filed soon after a death, the relevant blood-alcohol data may not arrive soon enough to be included in the certificate. In addition, not all states require blood alcohol tests for traffic accident fatalities. The study indicated that about 70 percent of drivers in fatal car crashes are tested for blood alcohol.
Drivers in the Seattle-area should be aware of this study as it may be cited in support of stronger DUI laws. There has already been a movement to increase the penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington. Proponents of these measures cite the problem of repeat DUI offenders and fatal accidents that make the headlines. If the problem of DUI fatalities is in fact greater than what has been reported, it could renew talks of tougher DUI laws.
To learn more about DUI laws, contact a Seattle DUI attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense. Schedule a consultation to discuss your case by calling 425-284-2000.