The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that Iowa’s percentage increase in the number of people killed in drunken driving accidents is among the highest in the nation — but is still below the national average. The number of alcohol-related driving deaths increased from 117 in 2005 to 148 in 2006 — a 26.5% increase. That’s second to Utah’s 72.5% climb over the same period.
Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman, Dena Gray-Fisher, says the five-year trend in Iowa has been going down, and she credits the lowering of the legal level of blood alcohol to zero-point-eight. She says if you compare the five-year average going back to 2002, the numbers are still below where the state was at in 2002. Gray-Fisher says there is some good news in the report.
Gray-Fisher says: "I think what’s very positive is that Iowa’s still the second lowest in the entire country in the percentage of alcohol-related crashes. So Iowa has worked very hard, and I think Iowans are…generally very responsible drivers, but we can still do some more." The national figures were released in conjunction with a drunk driving campaign that begins Friday in Iowa.