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Massachusetts drunk driving deaths outpace national average

Massachusetts residents should know that driving while drunk exposes themselves and others to serious dangers. In addition, people convicted of drunk driving offenses may lose their driving privileges, spend time in jail and pay high fines.

Sadly, those realities seem unable to encourage more people to make responsible, wise choices. Instead, Massachusetts continues to experience a significant loss of life at the hands of drunk drivers.

State’s drunk driving death rate exceeds national average

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving fatalities accounted for 30% of the nation’s total vehicular fatalities in 2014 and 29% of the total every year from 2015 through 2018. In each of those five years, the rate of drunk driving fatalities per overall fatalities in Massachusetts exceeded the national average.

Alcohol-related deaths accounted for 40% of the state’s accident deaths in 2014, 31% in 2015, 37% in 2016 and 33% in both 2017 and 2018. During that five-year period, 636 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Massachusetts.

Recent reports highlight the ongoing problem

In November 2020 alone, NBC Boston reported on three drunk driving crashes in the area. In one case, a drunk driver rammed into a stone wall at a residence and then into a pedestrian, killing that 40-year-old man. The drunk driver tried to run away but officers apprehended him. Two years ago in Rhode Island, the driver experienced a prior impaired driving offense.

Two other cases involved drunk drivers hitting state police vehicles as well as a road contractor vehicle. One officer sustained injuries as did a road contractor.