Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Study finds K.C. ranks 2nd in nation for mid-‘90s drunken-driving fatalities

January 15, 2002


— Only one other city was the scene of more drunken-driving fatalities during a three-year period in the mid-1990s than Kansas City, a new study said.

The city was second only to Dallas in the number of drunken-driving fatalities between 1995 and 1997, according to the study published in the February issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.

"I'm shocked," said Lela McDuffy, president of the Heartland Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "I realize that we were probably the worst in Missouri, but I had no clue that we were that high on the list nationwide."

Researcher Deborah Cohen, who is now with the Rand Corporation, analyzed federal crash statistics in 97 cities that submit data each year to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Funding for the Louisiana State University study came from the national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program.

Kansas City had 10.1 alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 residents, while Dallas had 10.23.

Both cities' rates were more than twice as high as the national average, 4.75.

Lincoln, Neb., ranked lowest in the study, with an average of .86 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents.

Seventh-highest on the list was St. Louis, with 7.92 alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 residents.

Missouri has taken steps in recent years to cut down on drunken driving with the passage of lower blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent. It went into effect in September.

Although it is too early to gauge the law's effect, the Kansas City Police Department expects to make 10 to 20 percent more DUI arrests in the long run.

"The change is welcome," McDuffy said. "But we have to do more."

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