Drunk driving in the United States takes many descriptions depending on the jurisdiction, whether federal, state or local. In all jurisdictions in the country, the practice is illegal and attracts varying penalties depending on the severity. Drunk driving is also synonymous with terms such as driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while impaired (OWI), and operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), depending on the state where the law applies. In this assessment, the terms will apply interchangeably but mainly DWI and DUI will mostly apply. It is important to note that in most jurisdictions, the laws apply beyond motor vehicle drivers and include boating and aircraft as well. Additionally, it may include farm machinery as well as horse-drawn carriages whose operation while under the influence may qualify as risky to the public or self (Wanberg, W. K et al., 2004).
Drunk driving refers to the activities involving the operation of a machine or a motor vehicle while under the effects of alcohol and/ or drugs to an extent that mental capabilities don’t function normally. The rationale behind criminalization stems from the belief that in the above state, someone poses danger to him/herself and the public (Jacobs, 1989).
DWI is a widespread problem in the US which according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was responsible for over 17000 deaths in 2006. The above deaths were alcohol-related and represented slightly over 40% of all traffic deaths in the country. Hundreds of thousands more sustain injuries every year according to the NHTSA (King, 2011).
In a bid to determine if an accident is alcohol-related and to control the DWI related accidents, all states in the US have established blood alcohol content parameters that define the limits within which one can drive or operate a machine with minimal possibility of causing harm to himself or to others (Valle, 1986). States have designated alcohol levels that act as the benchmark for the commission of a criminal offense. Most states have 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) as the maximum level that one can legally operate a machine or motor vehicle. As mentioned earlier, the problem is prevalent in all states of the US including New Mexico. This research will evaluate the DWI problem in the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico State, close examine the health status indicators and review of public literature of the city as it relates to the identified problem, give a nursing diagnosis and conclude with a proposed intervention.
Area of Study
Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city and US’s 32 largest cities with a population totaling 545, 852 people according to the 2010 national Census. However, after including the metropolitan area of the city of Los Rancho, the population increases to over 900,000. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US coming in 6th position as of 2007 (Carr, 2009).
The city lies in central New Mexico and spans a total area of 181.3 square miles (470 km2). The city’s location falls within the Upper edge of the Chihuahua desert. The city spots one of the highest elevations of an urban center in the US with a major effect coming from its location in the continental south-westerly position. Besides, the city’s geography has heavy influences from the surrounding major geographical features including the Arizona-New Mexico Mountain and the Colorado Plateau Desert (Carr, 2009).
Like the US, the city is a melting pot of various cultures and people reminiscent of its history and position. Various Western folklores attribute the origin of the city’s name to different sources. It is generally agreed that the city rose from a village that acquired its name from the provincial governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes who named it after a viceroy of New Spain in the 17th century. However, other folklore does quote Arabic, Portuguese, Latin and Arabic influences in the name of the city. Albuquerque owes much of its history to the Spanish settlers who established it in 1706 as a colonial and military outpost. Some of the Spanish colonial relics of the city such as the “Old town” still exist as museums to the public. American influence on the city began after the occupation of New Mexico by the US and a subsequent establishment of a federal garrison and a quartermaster in the 19th century. The city was also a battlefield that featured a confrontation between Confederate and Union troops. Under the American administration, New Mexico experienced rapid growth including the establishment of key institutions such as The University of New Mexico, Kirtland Air Force Base in 1939, Sandia Base in the early 1940s, and Sandia National Laboratories in 1949. The current city status of Albuquerque is a result of decades of growth with major influence on Spanish but also largely American culture. Currently, the city experiences many problems that have come up as a result of urbanization and changes associated with 21st-century cultural dynamics (Price, 1992).
By virtue of being a metropolitan area, the population of Albuquerque is uniquely more prone to the social ills that are characteristic of urban populations. As earlier mentioned, drunk driving is a common problem in the US. However, the effect on urban areas is higher than it is in rural areas. Sociologically, it is safe to conclude that the uniqueness associated with the urban population including Albuquerque stems from the increased liberal tendencies among the population, especially among the youth. In addition to that, the economic status of most city residents is slightly better and they are in a better position to access machines and substances that lead to DWI.
It is important to note that liberal tendencies here include ends such as increased permissiveness that have a direct relationship with problems such as underage drinking and DWI among teens (Illumina, 1996).
Description of the community and its people
Albuquerque is a cosmopolitan urban center with nearly all major ethnic and racial communities in the US represented in the city (Taylor & Oberman, 2006). According to the US census of 2010, whites, other races, Native Americans and African-Americans form the majority of Albuquerque’s population. It is important to note that a major part of Albuquerque’s White population consists of Latinos as the table below illustrates.
According to the census, the population density of the city stood at 3010.7 with 239,166 households and 224,330 families. Slightly over 30% of the households had children under the age of 18 while slightly over 12% of the households had females as the heads (Carr, 2009). The age distribution according to the 2010 census was as the table below illustrates.
Figure 1: Population Distribution in Albuquerque
|Age group (Years)||Distribution|
|65 and above||12.0%|
The gender distribution of the city is fairly even with a ratio of 100 females to 94.4 females. Males according to the census have a higher median income compared to females at approximately $34200 and $26400 respectively.
The economy of Albuquerque draws its support from a number of both government and private institutions that operate from the city. It is important to note that the city lies right in the middle of the Technology Corridor of New Mexico that includes a host of private companies and government institutions with vast investments in technology. The corridor lies along the Rio Grande with institutions such as Kirtland Air Force Base, Intel Corp., PNM resources, Sandia National Laboratories and Bank of Albuquerque gracing it. Additionally, there is the solar energy and architectural design company Zomeworks that has been in the city region since 1960, Los Alamos National Laboratory plus a host of many other technology-related companies that are crucial to the survival of Albuquerque’s economy (King, 2011).
The city is home to one of the nation’s largest school districts, the Albuquerque Public schools that cater to the education needs of over 80,000 students. The city’s flagship education institution is the University of New Mexico which is the oldest in the state. Besides, the city also has the National American University, Trinity Southwest University and the University of St. Francis, a college of nursing and the allied health department of physician assistant studies. There are also numerous technical schools that serve the city’s educational purposes including the ITT technical institute and the University of Phoenix. Transport and communication are perhaps directly linked with the main subject of this research. Albuquerque boasts of developed state-of-the-art transport and communication facilities that include highways, rails, bridges and airports.
Given that Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, the statistics about DWI in the state will therefore mostly apply to the city as well. There is little variation on the margins of error between the state and city figures especially on drunk driving. It is therefore important to note that reference to statistics on DWI in New Mexico will be part of the analysis on the city of Albuquerque from time to time. The city of Albuquerque is full of social trends that point to a persistent problem of DWI. A documentary a while back on drug usage among New Mexico students pointed out that over 13% of students in the state had more than once received experimental drug offers at school (Dempsey & Forst, 2011).
Perhaps a historical pointer to the underlying alcohol problem concerning the population of New Mexico is the city Gallup in the North-Western part of the state, mainly inhabited by Native Americans and which became synonymous with drinking in the 1970s and ’80s (Fixico, 2000). The trend traces its origin to the repealing by Congress of the law prohibiting the sale of alcohol to Native Indians and the unavailability of the commodity in some of the Native Indian reserves. The problem reached its peak in the 1970s and ’80s. By 1988, police would regularly round up an estimated 35000 people from the roadsides by authorities for public intoxication and retained under protective custody according to New Mexico laws. It is therefore possible that the considerable presence of that ethnic group in Albuquerque city influences to a certain extent the trends experienced in drunk driving (Fixico, 2000).
Health Status Indicators
Drunk driving or DWI is generally a concern not only in Albuquerque but also in the entire world (Oyerbey, 2006). DWI is a public health concern given that it causes a ripple effect of death and other health problems such as a permanent disability in the general population of a given jurisdiction. The problem is severe in the US compared to other developed countries especially the UK where deaths caused by drunk driving are less than in the US. For instance, the UK with a population of 61 million recorded 380 alcohol-related deaths in 2010 while California, a state with slightly more than 36 million people recorded 1500 deaths resulting from accidents that are alcohol-related (Oyerbey, 2006). It is important to note the UK has higher alcohol consumption per capita than the US while the legal drinking ages for the former two are also lower than the latter. While the metrics used to generate DWI statistics in the countries mentioned may be different, it is important to note that fatalities resulting from DWI whether involving public or private transport are less than that of the US. Victoria Romero of MADD concedes in an interview that driving while intoxicated be it in Albuquerque causes injuries and death gives impetus to the classification of DWI as an important problem that needs tackling. According to Romero, quoting MADD statistics as compiled from other sources, an average drunk driver drives about 80 times while under the influence before he/she is arrested for the first time. Romero estimates that is likely that one in three people will get involved in alcohol-related crashes in their lifetime.
DWI in the US and New Mexico
In 2009, the US recorded 10, 893 motor vehicle fatalities involving drivers with a BAC exceeding the legal 0.08 limit. Despite the high figure, the Century Council estimates that the 2009 figures represented a 10% decline from the 2008 figure of 11,711. In the same year, The Century Council reports that 1398 of the recorded fatalities involved people less than 21 years of age a small decline from the 1492 cases reported the previous year. In 2009, California reported the highest fatality cases totaling 1235 while DC reported the lowest at 10. New Mexico reported 114 fatalities in 2009 according to The Century Council. As earlier mentioned, the US total 2009 under 21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities was 1398. Texas again topped with 185 fatalities with New Mexico reporting 28.
The graph below compares alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the US and New Mexico in 2009.
Other statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration point to a persistent and recurring DWI problem in NM as the following graph illustrates.
Severity of DWI in Albuquerque is a reflection of the larger US and New Mexico societies. However, like the above bigger jurisdiction areas, DWI in Albuquerque is unique as dictated by the circumstances unique only to the city (Gaines & Kappeler, 2011). The following table helps illustrate the above assertion. From the year 1999 to 2003, police in the following jurisdictions in New Mexico had recorded the following statistics concerning DWI.
Figure 5: DWI Citations by agencies in NM State
|Bernalillo County Sheriff||15||10||10||9||10|
|New Mexico State police||3||2||1||2||2|
According to the above table, the number of DWI citations in Albuquerque was constant throughout, a worrisome trend that points to the situation in Albuquerque concerning DWI. Despite the trend shown above, media reports quoted the police as saying that DWI cases are on the decline in Albuquerque city. In 2010 for instance the Albuquerque Police Department reported 3500 drunken driving arrests (Gerdes, 2004).
A 21 hour ride-along with police officer Andrew Martinesz specifically targeting DWI activity yields data that is consistent with already available statistics. In the 21 hours, officer Martinesz made 15 enforcement stops resulting in 10 arrests associated with DWI. There was1 one crash and no fatalities during the ride-along. As observed by officer Martinesz and confirmed through observation, DWI is rampant in the city with almost a third of those arrested being repeat offenders. The average BAC for those arrested was 0.068
Research shows that both men and women are DWI offenders with males mostly making up the majority. According to Victoria of MADD, men make up the majority of arrests and convictions in Bernalillo County where the city of Albuquerque falls. However, as the following graph shows, female arrests and convictions have steadily grown, especially in the three years analyzed, and make up a considerable part of the county’s DWI statistics (Adam & Maurice, 2011).
Age is another factor that plays an important role in DWI. According to Victoria of MADD, more than half of the approximately 30,000 people who lose their lives in the US every year to traffic accidents are less than 21 years. The organization adds that more than half of deaths of teenagers aged 16-19 are a result of car crashes. Given the above statistics, therefore, teenager deaths from car crashes account for nearly 17% of all car-related deaths in the US. While a big part of these deaths results from factors such as negligence, a proportion are a result of drunk driving.
Community/ Nursing Diagnosis
Many children and young people are at risk of being caught up in the effects of DWI in Albuquerque. Easy identification of the culprits of the above problem is key to reducing the number of children and teen causalities as a result of DWI. While there is the progress made in reducing DWI cases in New Mexico and Albuquerque, it is increasingly difficult for law enforcement to identify children driven by drunk drivers thus making it difficult to achieve the 25.5% target set by 2010 initiative. Achieving the targets on DWI as envisaged in the Healthy People 2020 initiative is likely to take longer than expected. It is necessary to enact new laws that will make it easier for law enforcement to identify people violating DWI laws in order to reduce the rate of DWI as outlined in Healthy People 2020.
According to Victoria Romero of MADD, DWI is rampant in Albuquerque and poses a grave danger to both young and old. Backed by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the residents of the metropolitan and the State in general, support drastic measures such as vehicle forfeiture in order to control runaway DWI crimes. People are willing to take the necessary steps to stop the problem from recurring. Public awareness by authorities, therefore, is necessary to solidify this support and goodwill for the good of the Albuquerque community. Authorities acknowledge the existence of the problem in the city hence initiatives such as vehicle forfeiture programs that are yielding positive results.
More demographic groups especially females are increasingly getting caught in the DWI trap. The number of females committing DWI offenses is likely to rise as evidenced by the statistics. While the rise is attributable to social trends in a dynamic society, it does not augur well with efforts to combat DWI in Albuquerque. If left unchecked, the problem of rising females committing DWI offenses will most likely spiral out of hand.
The existence of DWI in the Albuquerque community is real and widespread. Low rates of DWI are an indication of a healthy community. The effect transcends almost all demographic sections of the population that are vulnerable to DWI. Males are the most affected while females and teenagers follow closely follow. Despite the initiatives put in place, there are indications of continuous engagement in drunk driving by a considerable number of members of the public effectively putting the lives of other city residents in danger. The continued existence of this problem in Albuquerque city continues to expose the place to a ripple effect of the adverse effects of DWI. There is a considerable amount of losses that the community of Albuquerque is incurring to drunk driving chief among them being the loss of lives. Additionally, DWI wreaks havoc on the social setting of the community because legal proceedings, vehicle forfeitures or injuries contribute to social trauma in the immediate family of anyone involved.
Highest priority Diagnosis
Given the nature of the problem tackled in this assessment, the highest priority diagnosis is:
“The existence of DWI in the US and Albuquerque community is real and widespread. Low rates of DWI are an indication of a healthy community. The effect transcends almost all demographic sections of the population that are vulnerable to DWI. Males are the most affected while females and teenagers follow closely follow. Despite the initiatives put in place, there are indications of continuous engagement in drunk driving by a considerable number of members of the public effectively putting the lives of other city residents in danger. The continued existence of this problem in Albuquerque city continues to expose the place to a ripple effect of the adverse effects of DWI. There is a considerable amount of losses that the community of Albuquerque is incurring to drunk driving chief among them being the loss of lives. Additionally, DWI wreaks havoc on the social setting of the community because legal proceedings, vehicle forfeitures or injuries traumatize the immediate family of anyone involved.”
It is therefore imperative that detailed information on DWI in Albuquerque and the US, in general, be made available as a starting in the quest to find a lasting solution to the problem. Information involving the prevalence of the problem, the 2020 health people goals and programs put in place to address the program will comprise some of the literature.
This diagnosis captures the status of the DWI problem in Albuquerque and tries to give the true picture from a community nursing point of view. Through this diagnosis, authorities will find it easy to identify the priority areas that need attention concerning DWI.
Review of Public Health Literature
Drunk driving is as old as the auto industry itself. Before World War II, laws governing DWI were not given much thought by authorities. However, after the war ended the economies of warring nations began to grow and the US which had not lost much to the war was the venue for a fast-growing auto industry (Robin, 1991). Indiana had in place a law setting the limit for a BAC of 0.15 in 1938 before the war began. New York was however the first jurisdiction in the US to have in place, a law against drunk driving in 1910. The growing vice and that of the auto industry in Detroit city necessitated the establishment of the Traffic Safety Association of Detroit. Through TSA’s initiatives, alcohol-related accidents in Detroit reduced by over 90% in a few years. California in 1957 also passed a law on drunk driving whose effectiveness stemmed from the punitive measures it proposed for drunken drivers. The US saw an upsurge of laws and enhancements stemming from pressure from non-governmental organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It is during this time that the enactment of most of the laws today that criminalized the vice stressing zero tolerance to drunk driving took place.
Tackling drunk driving is one of the most prioritized aims of authorities including various governments that fall under US jurisdiction. While complete elimination of DWI is tough for many authorities, controlling it to within acceptable levels is possible. One of the frameworks within which tackling DWI falls is Healthy People 2020. This framework sets goals and objectives that various departments concerned with health issues in the US must achieve by the year 2020. Some are directly related to DWI while others only relate indirectly.
Prevalence of DWI in the US
Existing data points out to a DWI trend consistent with the above priority diagnosis. Victoria of MADD for instance cites evidence from her organization that indicates that there were slightly over 10,800 alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2009 alone in the US. This translated to approximately a fatal crash every 50 minutes or so in the country. Neubauer & Fradella (2010) seem to agree with the above assertion by saying that over 70% of all the fatal crashes that occurred in 2009 involved drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Neubauer & Fradella (2010) add that the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers for the same year was four times higher at night than during the day. Texas and California topped the states with the most fatalities respectively in the years 2009 and 2010 with drivers between ages 21-24 having the highest BAC content (Jensen, 2010). Prevalence of the problem as captured by the above statistics is the basis on which initiatives such as Healthy People 2020 are founded.
Healthy People 2020 goals
The Healthy People 2020 goals and objectives list substance abuse as one of the areas that must receive special emphasis in order to achieve set targets. Of particular importance is the issue of both children and adults being exposed to DWI situations knowingly and unknowingly. The Healthy People 2020 initiative aims to achieve a 25.5% reduction in the number of teenagers who report having ridden with a DWI driver in the last 30 days. This is motivated by statistics showing that 28.3% of students in grades 9 through 12 have ridden in the same vehicle with a DWI driver in the year 2009 (Healthy People 2020, 2011).
In the intuitive blueprint, substance abuse objective five aims at increasing the number of courts in the US that deal with drugs, DWI cases as well as other specialties that relate to the above. Additionally, the initiative aims at increasing the States with mandatory ignition interlock laws for first and repeat DWI offenders in the US. The target is all states plus the District of Columbia compared to only 13 that had the mandatory ignition interlock laws in 2009.
Objective 15 aims at reducing the number of adults who drank excessively in the last 30 days with a target improvement of 10%. Additionally, it targets the reduction of the average annual alcohol consumption to 2.1 gallons. Closely related to the above objectives and more relevant to the information in this assessment is objective 17 which aims at decreasing the rate of DWI driving fatalities by drivers with more than.0.08% blood to alcohol content. The above objective targets a 5% improvement. Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System in 2008 shows that 0.40 deaths occurring per 100 million miles traveled involve a driver or rider with blood to the alcohol content of more than 0.08 (Healthy People 2020, 2011).
It is important to note that the above initiatives target the entire United States including New Mexico and Albuquerque. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that whatever mechanisms concerned authorities are going to put in place will help alleviate to an extent the DWI problem in New Mexico and specifically Albuquerque.
Initiatives such as the above have come up because the authorities acknowledge the existence of problems such as DWI in Albuquerque and the larger New Mexico. According to the New Mexico Department of Health and New Mexico Prevention Research Center Policy Brief Series, deaths from motor vehicle crashes resulting from DWI have sharply declined by almost 80%. According to the two departments, deaths caused by DWI-related circumstances have declined from a high of 3.2 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 0.8 per 100 vehicle miles traveled. The former figure was the highest in the nation in 1982 while the decline saw the state’s rank fall to 14th highest in 2006.
The State Traffic Safety Information and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes the fall in DWI deaths to various input by different stakeholders including the federal and state government as well as non-governmental organizations.
DWI control initiatives
Some of the policies include the introduction of laws that have slashed the allowable BAC levels in drivers who are both underage and also those that have raised the minimum legal drinking age to 21.
There have also been laws mandating the installation of ignition interlocks for first-time offenders in order to check recidivism.
Also credited by the two organizations is the introduction of sobriety checkpoints backed by public campaigns creating awareness as well as raising the perception of the risk of arrest among the public.
In addition, advanced technology especially in the design and installation of safety belts and laws that make their use mandatory have also contributed to the reduction of DWI related deaths.
Albuquerque has also implemented initiatives aimed at reducing DWI deaths and vehicle crashes in the city. They include programs such as DWI-DUI Assistance programs that include an outpatient, partial hospitalization for substance abuse and day treatment for persons that need help with DWI-related conditions. There is also DWI-DUI programs that include assistance programs like outpatient substance abuse treatment and drug rehab program for people who are in need of DWI-related conditions (Leukefeld, 2011).
Perhaps one of the best DWI deterrence programs the city has is the Albuquerque DWI Vehicle Forfeiture Program. Under this program, repeat impaired drivers have their vehicles seized, impounded and in numerous cases auctioned off. These punitive measures are mostly applied to repeat impaired drivers as well as those that drive on a revoked license as a result of a DWI offense.
Besides, there is a requirement for all first-time licensees in the state of New Mexico to take a DWI awareness class for drivers aged between 18-24 years. The New Mexico legislature passed the law in 1993 with the sole intention of combating drunk driving. The law lowered the intoxication level and imposed stiffer penalties and fines on offenders besides setting up an informal class for first-time licensees. The program educates would-be drivers of the laws that exist on drunk driving and the penalties associated with failure to obey.
The success of the programs above varies. As earlier noted, the number of fatalities resulting from DWI in New Mexico has fallen from being the highest in the country to 14th highest. Additionally, there is evidence of increased awareness among the Albuquerque residents especially on the backdrop of programs like vehicle forfeiture.
Based on the discussion above, it is prudent to propose a solution that will tackle the DWI problem in the Albuquerque community. Before putting a proposal forward, it is important to highlight the following areas:
- Males make up the most culprits in DWI cases
- Teenagers are the most vulnerable group that can easily succumb to the effects of DWI
- The number of women involved in DWI is likely to rise in the foreseeable future
- Data suggests that 60% of people involved in alcohol-related crashes in Bernalillo County where Albuquerque belongs, have previously received DWI citations
- There are more people in the UK and Australia taking alcohol compared to the US, yet the US has a higher number of alcohol-related fatalities than the two countries above
- There are still a considerable number of DWI cases in Bernalillo County where Albuquerque belongs despite extreme punitive measures such as vehicle forfeiture programs.
The above facts give a sneak peek into the problem and the issues surrounding it. The picture that comes out clearly is that DWI is a social problem and no amount of punitive measures can completely erase it. Also, DWI has everything to do with the social setting of the community where it occurs. Additionally, it is clear that the availability of alcohol does not necessarily mean high DWI cases. In a nutshell, DWI problems are purely social and only social approaches will contain them. The solution therefore to the DWI problem in Albuquerque is a “Stepped up community awareness campaign program”.
The rationale behind this social-oriented intervention is to entrench DWI information in the community to a level that will influence people’s decision-making concerning drunk driving. Primarily, the intervention will aim at expanding the already existing state program where first-time licensees attend mandatory drunk driving classes. Besides, there will be new programs that will entice people to attend DWI prevention classes voluntarily. The plan will entail a more detailed approach than what is currently offered. In addition to that, the program will include medical details on the effects of driving while drunk.
The main purpose of this plan will be to help people willingly appreciate the dangers of DWI and make sound decisions regarding the same. In the long-term, this plan will be aiming at reducing the overall DWI cases and effectively alcohol-related accidents.
The plan will target all people equally with the aim of checking a rise in the number of females involved in DWI, reduction of male DWI cases and preventing teenagers from falling into the DWI trap. In order for this plan to succeed, all stakeholders including state government, county leadership, and community leadership will need to participate. Seminars and the media-both electronic and print will be the primary communication channels. Besides, the program will solicit funds that will enable it to run beneficial promotional activities so as to attract a wider audience.
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Appendix 1: Ride-Along with Officer Andrew Martinesz
|Time||Average BAC Detected||Cases Detected|
Appendix 2: Interview with Victoria Romero, advocate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving
DWI in the US and New Mexico assessment interview
This was a 30-minute interview held at the participant’s MADD offices in Albuquerque. The interview closely followed a pre-determined structured criterion defined by initial questions carefully designed by the interviewer to cover the areas of interest concerning DWI in the US and New Mexico.
What is the organization mainly involved in?
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a non-governmental organization whose work mainly focuses on stopping underage drinking, caring for victims of violent crime and campaigning against drunk driving. The organization works through advocates like me who mainly take volunteer roles in promoting its agenda.
What is the current picture of DWI in the country, state and county?
DWI is a prevalent public health problem in the US that needs urgent tackling and full participation of all members of the public.
What programs do MADD and other NGO organizations have in place to combat DWI?
Besides public awareness campaigns, MADD and other organizations help in drafting legislation and policies by both state and federal governments aimed at controlling DWI. For instance in New Mexico, MADD supports vehicle forfeiture programs whose tough measures the organization believes will contribute to low DWI causalities.
Is the problem persistently prevalent among the youth or across all demographic sections?
Who are the majority of offenders in DWI?
Most of the DWI MADD deals with are men or males. However, that is not to say that women are not involved. In fact, recently there is data that has consistently shown that female DWI offender numbers are increasing.
Who are the main victims of DWI?
Fatalities resulting from DWI include people from all demographic sections. However, it is important to note that nearly half of all the deaths that occur due to accidents in the country involve young people less than 21 years.
Would you give any statistical overview of the DWI situation in the US and New Mexico?
In the US slightly thousands of people lose their lives in fatal crashes caused by drunk driving. In each of the last two years, for instance, there have been over 10000 fatalities directly linked to DWI in the US. The problem is also prevalent in New Mexico with the state losing 114 people to DWI fatal crashes in 2009 alone.