"There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics."--Mark Twain
Note from getMADD: The tailor-made definitions that result in the inflated figures used by MADD and our government distort the magnitude of the DUI problem. Below is the analysis of their numbers from just one state. See the NHTSA Statistics Page for more.
Numbers-Dealing with Statistics
The Headline: "...drunken drivers cause an annual death toll of over 25,000."---Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 1990.
For this to be true, you must assume:
That the statistics are based on drivers who were actually drunk
That the drunk drivers were 'at fault' in each death
That alcohol was the primary reason why the drunk driver crashed
Most Americans, including Justice
Rhenquist believe the drunk driver headline. Let's look at the facts.
>"The statistics are based on drivers who were actually drunk"-FALSE. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) admits that they have have no alcohol data on about 60%* of the drivers involved in fatal crashes. They were not tested for alcohol, so they "fill-in" the missing numbers. Why weren't those drivers tested? Either the police were lax in their duties or there was no suspicion of alcohol being involved. The NHTSA uses the wording alcohol-related deaths, but like Justice Rhenquist, we have all been conditioned to say drunk driver when viewing the numbers.
CLICK HERE for the NHTSA explanation on filling in missing numbers
*(25-73%, depending on the state)
>"The drunk drivers were 'at fault' in each death"-UNKNOWN. The NHTSA does not try to determine which driver was at fault. If any trace of alcohol is in one vehicle, that driver is assumed to be at fault. If both vehicles have alcohol on board, then they are both assumed to be at fault.
>"Alcohol was the primary reason why the drunk driver crashed"-UNKNOWN. The NHTSA does not try to determine the cause of the crash. If alcohol is at the scene, it is assumed to be the cause. Road conditions, bad weather, speeding, suicide, etc. are not considered, even if mentioned on the police report.
CLICK HERE for many examples of MADD and the press equating alcohol-related to Drunk Driver
Below are the NHTSA statistics for Pennsylvania (2001). Shown in RED.
The actual numbers taken from the individual police cases for each crash are shown in BLUE. Amazingly, both sets of numbers are from the same raw government data! Other states show the same pattern.
SUMMARY of the data below:
Numbers in BLUE are verified DRUNK drivers.
Numbers in RED are NHTSA's figures
294 drivers involved in fatal crashes were drunk. The NHTSA claims 575.
13.77% of the total number of drivers in fatal crashes were drunk, The government says 26.93%.
21.7% of the deaths involved a drunk driver, The NHTSA claims 34.5%.
14.84% of the 21.7% were the deaths of the drunk driver himself or accompanying passenger.
The other 6.86% were innocent victims of drunk driving accidents.
When reading these numbers, you will see wording like: "no alcohol", "BAC .00", "legal alcohol levels". These are not typos. Why does the NHTSA include these drivers in their statistics? CLICK HERE for their explanations
2135 is the total number of drivers involved in fatal accidents in Pennsylvania in the year 2001.
The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to be considered legally drunk in PA was .10 in 2001.
575 of these drivers, according to the NHTSA, were drunk drivers (drivers involved in alcohol-related* crashes): Their figure is 26.93% of the total drivers.
Of these 575 drivers:
521 were drunk drivers according to the NHTSA
54 were additional drivers added by the NHTSA. (See New Methodology**. below)
Of these 521 drivers:
294 drivers were legally drunk, BAC .10 & up: This is 13.77% of the drivers who were drunk, not 26.93%.
16 drivers had legal alcohol levels of BAC .08-.09
12 drivers had legal alcohol levels of BAC .06-.07
11 drivers had legal alcohol levels of BAC .04-.05
23 drivers had legal alcohol levels of BAC .01-.03
41 drivers were labeled as "not drinking" or had legal alcohol levels of BAC .00
67 drivers had unknown, if any, alcohol levels
20 people labeled as "drunk drivers" were actually drunk passengers
12 people labeled as "drunk drivers" were actually passengers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .01-.09
18 people labeled as "drunk drivers" were actually passengers with unknown alcohol levels
2 people labeled as "drunk drivers" were actually drunk pedestrians
1 person labeled as a "drunk driver" was actually a pedestrian with a legal alcohol level of BAC .01-.09
4 people labeled as "drunk drivers" were actually pedestrians with unknown alcohol levels
1530 was the total number of traffic fatalities in PA in the year 2001
1002 fatalities involved sober drivers: This is 65.49% of the total fatalities.
528 fatalities, according to the NHTSA, resulted from alcohol-related* crashes: Their figure= 34.51% of the total traffic fatalities.
Of these 528 fatalities, there were:
332 fatalities involving drunk drivers (BAC .10 & up): This is 21.70% of the total traffic fatalities, not 34.51%
17 fatalities involving drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .08-.09
15 fatalities involving drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .06-.07
11 fatalities involving drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .04-05
24 fatalities involving drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .01-.03
45 fatalities involving drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC of .00***
Who Died in the alcohol-related crashes? (percentage of total highway deaths)
340 deaths were in in-single vehicle alcohol-related crashes. It is assumed that these drivers are "at fault"
Of these 340 deaths, there were:
162 deaths of the drunk driver, himself: 10.59%
65 deaths of the drunk driver or his passenger: 4.25%
32 deaths of drivers with unknown, if any, alcohol levels
7 deaths of drivers or their passenger with legal alcohol levels of BAC .00
9 deaths of drivers with legal alcohol levels of .01-.03
4 deaths of drivers with legal alcohol levels of .04-.05
8 deaths of drivers with legal alcohol levels of .06-.07
6 deaths of drivers with legal alcohol levels of .08-.09
26 were passengers of drivers with legal alcohol levels of .01-.09
21 were deaths of "non drinking" drivers--Remember this is a single vehicle crash--What are these 21 drivers doing included in alcohol-related?
188 deaths were in multi-vehicle alcohol-related crashes. Which driver caused the crash is not determined****
Of these 188 deaths, there were:
17 deaths that may have been caused by drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .00 -There was no alcohol in either driver, but they were still classified as alcohol-related deaths. (Cause Undetermined)
24 deaths that may have been caused by drivers with legal alcohol levels of BAC .01-.09 drivers-(Cause Undetermined)
42 deaths that may have been caused by drivers with unknown, if any, alcohol levels-(Cause Undetermined)
105 deaths that may have been caused by drunk drivers-(Cause Undetermined): 6.86%
*Alcohol-related: NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) defines a crash as alcohol-related if alcohol was present in a driver or non-occupant. Drinking passengers are counted as drunk drivers in their statistics as are New Methodology** profiled drivers even if no alcohol is present. These last two groups are mysteriously missing from their definition, but show up in their analysis.
**New Methodology (formerly called the Multiple Imputation Method) is a statistical fill-in-the-blanks tool used by NHTSA. They claim that in 60% of the accident reports, alcohol involvement is unknown, so they have to make a lot of assumptions. They assume that alcohol was involved if the driver fits a certain profile. Similar to racial profiling. They also admit that the New Methodology results in figures 1 or 2% higher than the "Old Methodology."
CLICK HERE for more on The New Methodology
***Yes, the NHTSA has labeled these BAC .00 drivers as drunk
****The NHTSA assumes that "alcohol" is the cause of EVERY crash.
Nationally, 12.8% (Not MADD's 42%!!) of all drivers involved in fatal accidents during 2001 are known to have been intoxicated according to the BAC laws of their state. This number is based on a systematic examination of the official government records of each and every accident involving a fatality during that year in the US. It is based on factual evidence rather than on estimates or guesses.(Individual police case data from www.ridl.us on their statistics page.)
"The degree of one's
emotion varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts --
the less you know the hotter you get."
Some Predictions formulated by getMADD in September, 2003
MADD will lobby for a
lowering of the legal limit to BAC .05 (currently at .08). Sep 27, 2003.
Already proposed by MADD in Canada. 5/5/2004
The NHTSA will release
figures next year (for 2003) showing a slightly lower percentage of deaths from
alcohol-related (drunk) drivers to prove that the new stricter laws are working. This is
easily manipulated by shifting some of the "alcohol unknown" drivers to the
sober category. Sep 27, 2003
The 2003 figures show Alcohol-Related deaths down slightly. A-R deaths per mile down slightly. 5/5/04
The deaths per vehicle mile
traveled (VMT), which is the relevant figure, will be the same. Sep 27, 2003
The 2003 figures are down slightly. 5/5/04
number of deaths will be about the same-maybe a little less because of the high price of
gasoline. Sep 27, 2003
The 2003 total is down slightly. 8/29/04
The number of arrests for
DUI will increase with no change in total fatalities. Oct 1, 2003
The 2003 arrest figures are up nationally, (10% higher in PA), fatalities are down less than 2%)