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Archive for Saturday, December 31, 2011

Drunken-driving fatalities in Kansas jump in 2010

December 31, 2011

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Kansas has recently surpassed the U.S. average in number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities per mile driven. Information provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency.

Kansas has recently surpassed the U.S. average in number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities per mile driven. Information provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency.

— Kansas had the second-highest jump in the number of drunken-driving fatalities in the nation in 2010, a year in which overall alcohol-related fatalities fell, according to federal data.

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show 168 people died in such crashes on Kansas roads in 2010, the most recent year statistics are available. That’s 45 more than were killed in 2009.

The Kansas City Star reported nearly four in 10 highway deaths in Kansas were related to alcohol, according to the federal data.

“That statistic is stunningly bad,” said Kansas Rep. Pat Colloton, a Leawood Republican.

Kansas trailed only New York, which saw its number of drunken-driving deaths rise by 46 in 2010. In Missouri, there were 44 fewer drunken-driving fatalities than in 2009, which is more in line with a national trend in which 32 states saw declines.

Overall, drunken-driving deaths were down about 5 percent nationally in 2010 compared with the previous year.

Kansas lawmakers have been struggling with ways to toughen laws to deal with repeat drunken drivers. In 2009, a state report characterized Kansas’ system for dealing with repeated offenders as dysfunctional.

The report found that people drive drunk repeatedly in Kansas without risk of serious punishment, and that it can be hard to track repeat violators because drunken-driving arrests or convictions are sometimes not reported, or lost or discarded.

Colloton has teamed up with state Sen. Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican, to find ways to fix the system. Because of their efforts, the Legislature passed a law requiring first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlocks placed on their vehicles, making Kansas one of 14 states that make the devices mandatory for all drunken-driving offenders.

The two also helped secure funding for a central records repository where drunken-driving convictions can be tracked statewide.

That change wouldn’t have affected the 2010 numbers, but Owens said the 2010 statistics illustrate the need for the changes made this year.

Research indicates the ignition interlocks, which require a driver to blow into a breath-test device connected to the vehicle’s ignition system, can reduce recidivism by 67 percent.

A New Mexico study found a 32 percent decline in alcohol-related injury crashes from 2002 to 2006, a period in which interlocks were installed for 35 percent of all arrested offenders.

Comments

TheStonesSuck 2 years, 11 months ago

Shame on LJ World for posting this drivel. This is a gee dee advertisement for the companies that own the interlock devices. How about running a story outlining WHO in state government owns stock in these companies. How about informing the public? Drinking and driving is one of the most irresponsible things a person can do, however the press becoming a privatized advertisement is much more dangerous. Shame on you LJ World/Knology/whatever. The lack of reporting in this article is shameful.

TheStonesSuck 2 years, 11 months ago

Oh wait, this is an AP regurgitation. My bad... At least netflix and at&t are properly displayed. Knology/LJ World, plz do your part... take some ownership and have an opinion on what is happening in your home district.

werekoala 2 years, 11 months ago

http://WWW.missoulian.com/study-medical-marijuana-laws-traffic-fatalities-and-alcohol-consumption/pdf_59a159a6-31d2-11e1-9e35-001871e3ce6c.html

Hope this link works, on a mobile phone. Should go to a pdf download of a study that examined effects of legalizing medical marijuana. And holy crap, states that have MM saw a 9% drop in traffic fatalities.

I know everything is abstract ideological posturing any more, but if you look at the fatalities in Kansas, 9% of 168 = about 15 people still alive. Wow. That's pretty crazy, the thought that by passing MM we could have saved 15 lives last year.

Now, I don't really have a dog in this fight, havent touched the stuff in years. But seeing that the other day really got me thinking. If you turn it around, I don't think many people would support a new law that allowed 15 additional people to die every year, just to stick it to the hippies.

Anyway, not to sound like one of those annoying honk-for-hempers, I just tend to be swayed by scientific data about what's going on in objective reality.

And I'm willing to pay the price of listening to a few more mid-twenties "glaucoma patients" prattle on about Pink Floyd, if it means we can spare 15 families a funeral

jayhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

What does "medical" marijuana have to do with drunk driving? Unless, of course, you're suggesting that the "medical" part of the equation is just a ruse, an end run with the real goal of legalizing medical marijuana. Is "medical" marijuana just a hoax? During my time in California, it seemed that every person had some ailment or another that only marijuana helped. Depression, "I'm depressed when I don't have any marijuana" was one of my favorites. I could give a flip about legalizing marijuana. If states want to do it, fine. If they don't, that's fine with me as well. Just don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. And don't tell me "medical" marijuana as currently implemented is a legitimate "medical" need.

werekoala 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree, its odd that it's relevant, and a rational and wise species wouldn't have to deal with it. That said, its relevant specifically because objective scientific data found it to be relevant. Love it, hate it, or think it's stupid; if you legalize medical marijuana, almost 1 in 10 traffic fatalities can be prevented.

As I tried to make clear, I'm NOT a stoner, trying to cop a buzz. Frankly, those people annoy the hell out of me. But my job involves dealing with death on a regular basis. And the sad fact is that drunk drivers don't just kill themselves, in fact, they're more likely to survive than the Sunday School teacher they T-boned.

And trust me, I am all about getting these repeat offenders off the street. But locking them up after the fact doesn't bring back the person they killed.

Most enforcement and prevention efforts count themselves successful if they can prove ANY effect. A 5% change is beyond the dreams of avarice. If we're finding anything that proves an almost double-digit decrease in deaths, I think we need to be prepared to rigorously defend the ethics of why we are allowing those deaths to continue.

Some things wouldn't be worth it. For instance, summarily executing 3rd-time offenders, or or 24/7 government surveillance of each citizen would probably see even greater decreases in traffic fatalities. But at the expense of destroying who we are as a nation.

My point is, I don't think MM is even close to those extremes, no matter how much you or I might think it's stupid or find stoners annoying.

Ideally, yeah you're right, I would LOVE it if MJ advocates could just say, "hey we just want to get high, is that cool?". But there's so much BS on both sides that's (hah!) a pipe dream. Marijuana is worse than Oxycontin? Really, FDA?

Until then, in this imperfect world, I'll take what I can get. And personally, suffering an onslaught of 20-year-old "patients" listening to jam bands and giggling in coffee shops is a price I am willing to pay, to save 15 lives, regardless of how silly I think the whole debate is...

flyin_squirrel 2 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence spent their Drunk Driving Grant money on chasing underage drinkers in the bars. Until Drunk Driving is a top priority for our local police department, it will continue to be problem.

grimpeur 2 years, 11 months ago

Until unfit drivers of all types are routinely penalized, fined, and suspended, instead of routinely given ways to keep their licenses despite having clearly demonstrated their lack of fitness, we'll get more of the same.

Stop the DUI revolving door and the fake traffic classes and payoffs to avoid points against the license. Get the repeat drunks, aggressive and violent drivers, habitual violators and cell-phone junkies off the road.

Off.

The.

Road.

And a graduated licensing system, while we're at it. Lotta flat out unqualifieds along with the above mental cases out there in big/powerful cars and trucks they should not be driving.

Curtis Lange 2 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry, guys. The K-10 Safety Corridor will fix this.

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