NHTSA addresses traffic safety problems with a comprehensive range of approaches, including a focus on education and advising families on risks and safe practices, promoting vigorous enforcement of traffic safety laws, and fostering the development of new safety technologies to reduce risk exposure.
Impaired driving is one of the most serious traffic risks facing the Nation, killing thousands every year. Significant reductions in the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s, but progress has since been slow. More than 16,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2005.
The impaired-driving problem is complex and requires the full range of countermeasures, such as involving the family in preventing underage drinking, creating a general deterrent with high-visibility law enforcement, and deploying impairment detection technologies in alcohol interlock devices.
Recognizing the challenges that States and communities face in making progress in each of these many areas, NHTSA is focusing on four strategies that are crucial to making further reductions in the number of annual alcohol-related traffic deaths. Specifically, NHTSA is encouraging implementation of high-visibility law enforcement, support for prosecutors and DWI courts, increased use of medical screening and brief intervention for alcohol-abuse problems, and enactment of primary seat belt laws.