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Mothers Against Drunk Driving Rates States

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RALEIGH — Mothers Against Drunk Driving has releasedit's national "Rating of the States" report, and it appears North Carolinahas made the grade.

With persistence by police, lawmakers and educators, the state has madegreat improvements over the past few years. But there were 392 deathsfrom alcohol related accidents last year and more than 10,000 injuries.That means there's still a long way to go.

Saundra Dockery painted a very human picture of the results of drivingwhile intoxicated. She is the mother of 25-year-old Tiffany Dockery whodied in April after being hit by an intoxicated driver. Dockery joinedMothers Against Drunk Driving in kicking off the organization's annual RedRibbon Campaign. The group is also celebrating a nationwide 'A-minus'rating for states' efforts to curb drunk driving.

Even with the good news about statewide improvement, Governor Jim Huntsays we need to do even more.

Tougher laws and swifter penalties are just part of the answer.M.A.D.D. is reaching out to small police departments which have fewresources, donating portable breathalyzers.

Fremont Police Chief Ken Barrett says it will help to get the job done.

Perhaps most effective are the personal stories of tragedy, storieslike Tiffany Dockery's, which her mother hopes will create a senseof reality in the public's mind.

While drunk driving is a year-round problems, M.A.D.D. puts theirratings information out as the holidays approach because that's when theproblem worsens. More than 50 percent of the accidents that occurred onThanksgiving Day last year were alcohol-related. That figure is higherthan those for Christmas or even New Years Eve.

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