Local News

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Rates States

Posted November 26, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

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

With persistence by police, lawmakers and educators, the state has made great improvements over the past few years. But there were 392 deaths from 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 driving while intoxicated. She is the mother of 25-year-old Tiffany Dockery who died in April after being hit by an intoxicated driver. Dockery joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving in kicking off the organization's annual Red Ribbon 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 Hunt says 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 few resources, 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, stories like Tiffany Dockery's, which her mother hopes will create a sense of reality in the public's mind.

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