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More Programs Needed to Deter Drunk Driving Says M.A.D.D.

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RALEIGH — A lot of people will celebrate New Year's Eve at bars. Statistics show too many people will drink too much and try to drive home anyway.

Four hundred sixty-six people have died from drunk driving this year on North Carolina's roads.

The number of drunk driving deaths dropped below 400 in 1995, the first full year of the Booze It or Lose It campaign.

Mothers Against Driving Drunkattributes the one year drop in 1995 to the Booze It or Lose It campaign. They believe it will take more public awareness either in the form of another major campaign or in new laws to cause another decrease in those numbers.

The number of fatalities has been about 460 every year since.

"An accident is something that could not be prevented, and a drunk driving crash could have been prevented if that person had decided not to drive after he's been drinking," said Malcolm Bell of M.A.D.D.

A drunk driver hit Bell's daughter Mary. She's paralyzed now. Bell uses her story to prove that there is a person behind every statistic.

"The speed and the weight of the vehicle literally cut their car in two and and the bumper of the pickup truck came in and hit her in the abdomen and shoved every organ in her body into her chest cavity," Bell said.

An average man who weighs 160 pounds will be legally impaired after 4-5 drinks in one hour on an empty stomach. After three drinks, a woman who weighs 120 pounds will be legally impaired.

But Trooper Joe Bright of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said many drivers would not be fit to get behind the wheel after drinking even less alcohol.

"Some people are not used to drinking, and they may blow a .04 or even a .03 and still be a hazard to other motorists on the road," said Bright.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
David Renner, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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