Here is a good news/bad news study just published in Pediatrics on childhood (less than 15 years old) deaths from drunk driving accidents in the United States.
First, the good news: Between 2001-2010, the number of child passenger deaths involving alcohol-impaired drivers decreased significantly (more than 40%). Also during this time, overall alcohol-impaired traffic deaths decreased (by 24%).
So far so good. Here’s more good: In 2010, 20% of children younger than 15 years who died in traffic accidents were unrestrained, compared to 34% in 2001.
Fewer children are dying in car accidents than before. That’s good. Fewer Americans are dying in alcohol-related crashes. Also good. Proper age-appropriate restraints (infant car and booster seats and seat belts) are saving lives. Excellent.
The bad news is that too many children are still getting injured and dying in cars being driven by adults who are under the influence of alcohol. In fact, two-thirds (65%) of children who died in traffic accidents were driven by alcohol-impaired adult drivers, and that number hasn’t changed:
When children die in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver, it is still the case that nearly two-thirds of these children are killed while riding in the same vehicle as the impaired driver, and typically, they continue to be unrestrained in the crash in which they die. Most of the drivers in these crashes survived, suggesting that a certain number of the children killed might have survived had they been properly restrained.
(My emphasis above). Also included in the study (pdf. here) is a map of where in the country things are worst.
Here’s the obvious message: Don’t drink and drive. Buckle up. Make sure your precious cargo is properly restrained and secure.