A study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents that Alabama, and the rest of the nation, has gone through a dramatic change in 20 years as states enacted tougher laws against drinking and driving.
The study shows that alcohol was a factor in 58 percent of traffic fatalities in Alabama in 1982, but that had declined to 38 percent in 2001. Nationwide, alcohol-related traffic accidents dropped from 60 percent in 1982 to 41 percent in 2001.
Peggy Batey, state director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said there's no doubt that tougher laws and education about drinking and driving have saved lives, but she said people shouldn't think the problem has been whipped.
Gov. Don Siegelman has been at the forefront of changing Alabama's driving laws since his wife, Lori, was almost killed by a drunken driver in 1985.