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New Study Says One-Third Of Traffic Accidents In Cook County Are Linked To Drinking And Driving

By Anna Deem in News on Feb 27, 2010 6:45PM

A new study by the Scripps Howard News Service found that a third of traffic deaths linked directly to drinking and driving, out of nearly 6,000 traffic fatalities in Cook County between 1994 and 2008. When comparing data from across the country, Scripps Howard also listed Cook County's portion of Interstate 94 as the 11th most dangerous road in the nation, with 301 fatalities between 1994 and 2008.

"People still don't understand that drunk driving is a violent crime," said Susan McKeigue, state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Illinois, to the Chicago Sun-Times. "They think Uncle Ted getting snookered on Christmas Eve and driving away is funny." Statistics show that the act of driving has become the riskiest thing that most Americans do, producing higher body counts than any modern war or terrorist act, with over 100 people dying from traffic accidents ever day.

For their study, researchers at Scripps Howard counted the number of deaths on every road in America, using data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Overall, Scripps analyzed 562,712 fatal accidents from 1994 to 2008 that claimed 627,433 lives. Although numbers have decreased recently--37,261 individuals died in vehicular accidents in 2008--that's still 10 times the number of people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of the fatalities can be attributed to excessive speed, alcohol-impairment, or a lack of seat belts. Drivers distracted while texting, eating, or using their cell phones are also a growing concern.

For more information on Scripps' study, please visit