How costly is drunk driving in the United States?
Despite lower blood-alcohol limits that enable more drivers to be cited and stepped-up enforcement in recent decades, it remains a major, deadly problem.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. That averages to one death every 51 minutes, approximately 28 people per day. About once every 90 seconds, someone is injured in a crash caused by drunk driving. The financial cost in this country is $132 billion a year.
It’s a crime that must be taken seriously.
In Marion County, it certainly is.
The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program hosted an annual awards ceremony Friday for the High Technology Corridor region that includes Marion, Monongalia, Harrison, Lewis, Upshur, Barbour, Taylor and Preston counties.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Fairmont Police Department were recognized during the ceremony.
“This program is to show appreciation to officers who excel in DUI arrests,” regional program director Georgia Hatfield, who is based in Clarksburg, said.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program is the lead agency for West Virginia’s participation in federally mandated and funded highway safety improvement measures. The purpose of GHSP is to encourage, promote and support safety throughout West Virginia.
DUI enforcement programs include Over the Limit, Under Arrest; Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over; Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD); and Checkpoint Strikeforce.
Friday’s program featured individual and department awards.
Marion County deputy Jimmy Bledsoe, who says he is personally motivated to do his best to fight drunk driving while on patrol, was recognized for having the most DUI arrests during 2013 in the region. Bledsoe had 144 DUI arrests, which was the second most in the state.
He said his wife and children help motivate him.
“The innocent bystanders are the ones who pay the consequences and suffer because of a drunk driver,” Bledsoe said. “The more enforcement out there is the more of a difference that we can make.”
Marion County chief deputy Ralph Wright and deputies Donnie Wheeler and Brian Speakman were recognized for “Good Performance” in DUI arrests for 2013.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department was recognized for having the second most DUI arrests in the region.
“As a department, I give all the credit to the guys under me,” Wright said. “Without our guys out there patrolling the streets, there would be many senseless crimes, not just DUIs.”
The Fairmont Police Department was also recognized.
There were 21 officers and deputies and 16 law-enforcement agencies recognized during the ceremony.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking and push for stricter alcohol policy. The organization was founded in 1980 in California by Candice Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
Victim services specialist Margie Sadler, who was hit by a drunk driver the night she graduated from high school, handed out MADD certificates to the deputies and officers in attendance.
“You are saving a life every time you arrest a drunk driver,” Sadler said. “You are extremely appreciated.”
That appreciation has certainly been earned by the serious approach taken by law enforcement against a deadly crime.
How costly is drunk driving in the United States?
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
“Preventable, but not curable.”
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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