A national physicians’ group End Needless Death on Our Roadways (END) is issuing a list of the “fatal fifteen” states where at least 44 percent of traffic deaths was alcohol-related last year, says the Chicago Sun-Times. The worst state is Rhode Island, where 55 percent of traffic deaths are alcohol-related. Utah, at 15 percent, was the best. The national average was 40. Others on the list of 15: Hawaii, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Illinois, and Kansas.
Tougher enforcement of drunken-driving laws has cut the annual number of alcohol-related traffic deaths by more than 25 percent since fatalities peaked during the early 1980s. However, progress has slowed in recent years. Last year, 17,013 people died in alcohol-related traffic deaths in the United States. END is pushing hospital emergency rooms to screen patients for alcohol abuse, as required by new guidelines from the American College of Surgeons. Roughly half of all trauma injuries are alcohol-related. Because it typically takes a crisis before drinkers admit their problem, they tend to be receptive to counseling while in the hospital.