Kids’ DUI deaths: their drivers pose biggest risk

CHICAGO — The number of children killed by drunken motorists has declined substantially in recent years but the biggest threat remains their own drivers, not strangers in other vehicles, a study found.

The data show most impaired drivers survived these crashes, suggesting many kids might have survived if they’d been wearing seat belts or using car seats.

THE NUMBERS

Researchers analyzed 2000-10 government traffic deaths data and found 2,344 passengers younger than age 15 were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. Two-thirds were riding in cars driven by drunken drivers, but those cases declined by 40 percent during the decade.

Texas and California had the most deaths among kids riding with drunken drivers, but rates were higher in smaller, less populous states.

Almost two-thirds of kids who died while riding with drunken drivers were not wearing seat belts. And many of the drivers had no valid license. Most were adults.

DEJA VU

Some of the same researchers published a similar analysis 14 years ago that found close to 6,000 child deaths involving a drunken driver from 1985-1996. Like the new numbers, two-thirds of those deaths were in kids riding with a drunken driver.

The new study was led by Dr. Kyran Quinlan of Northwestern University and researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was published online Monday in Pediatrics.

THE RECOMMENDATIONS

The researchers note that most states have laws that provide stiffer DUI penalties for driving with a child, but suggest the laws need to be uniformly enforced. They also suggest better methods for preventing adults without drivers’ licenses from getting behind the wheel, and other proven deterrents including more sobriety checkpoints on roadways.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Front Porch

EVENTS Construction to start on housing project A groundbreaking is scheduled for… Continue reading

Most Read