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Thanksgiving traditionally marks the start of the holiday season, and
as we approach Chirstmas and New Years the chances of our encoutering
someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol increases with
holiday parties and New Years celebrations.

I am providing the following statistics not to scare anyone into not
driving, nor to lecture about the dangers of drinking and driving but
to better educate and better inform our members.

*  About three in every ten Ameicans will be involved in an alcohol
related crash at some point in their lives (NHTSA 2000)

*  An estimated 513,000 people are injured in alcohol related crashes
each year. (NHTSA 2002).

*  Impairment is not determined by the type of drink, but rather by the
amount of alcohol injested over a specific period of time. (IIHS Nov

*   The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than three
times as high at night as during the day (61% vs 18%)  NHTSA 2000

*   Based upon 1998 data, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause
of death for persons of every age from 4 to 33 years old (NHTSA 2000)

*  30% of alcohol related fatal crahes occur during the week versus 53%
on weekends.

*  The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one
drink per hour.  Only time will sober a person up.  Drinking strong
coffee, exercising, and cold showers will not help (Michigan State
University 2002)

*  40% of alcohol related deaths are people other thatn the at-fault
driver (Innocent victims that include pedestrians, passengers, and
other drivers) (NHTSA)

State by State Traffic Fatalities 2001

State             2001 Total      2001 Alcohol         % Alcohol
                  Traffic Deaths  Related Deaths       Related

Virginia                   935                    340                 36%
Maryland               660                     290                 44
North Carolina     1530                     533                 35
Distric of Columbia  68                       38                 55
West Virginia         376                     136                 36

Nationally        42,116                 17,448                 41%

Why the doom and gloom statistics?  Traditionally they stand out more
over the long haul.  I want to encourage every member to encourage the
use of designated drivers and for those who choose to drink, drink

Lets not become a statistic, have a safe holiday driving season.

Virginia Transportation Directorate

Virginia Wing, Civil Air Patrol

United States Air Force Auxiliary