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La Crosse County residents are being wiser about alcohol use

Wisconsin has a notorious reputation as a state where alcohol is quite popular, and cheese. Whether the cheese part is true is not of great concern on this personal injury blog. The alcohol part of that reputation, however, is of greater concern.

Alcohol use contributes to reckless driving and fatal car accidents in La Crosse County and greater Wisconsin every year. A recent report delivers some good news on that otherwise sad front. The rate of drunk driving accidents has significantly decreased in the county, along with the rate of drunk driving arrests.

Do both of those downward trends mean that fewer people are driving drunk in La Crosse County? That might be true, though the study doesn't connect the dots so clearly. The most suggestive trend is the 25 percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes. That most obviously suggests that drunk driving is less common than it used to be. The lower rate of arrests could just mean that law enforcement's focus has shifted in recent years.

Compared to the average rate of fatal drunk driving crashes in the entire state of Wisconsin, La Crosse County's rate is lower. Still, between 2008 and 2012, four victims ages 15-24 were killed in DUI accidents while others were injured. Four might not sound like a big number, but every life lost to drunk driving is a life lost to completely preventable, reckless behavior.

People who act recklessly and take the life of someone as a result should be held responsible. Though drinking and driving might be an individual choice, it affects countless lives of innocent people.

Source: La Crosse Tribune, "Alcohol report: We're 'safer' - County showing progress in drinking behavior," Allison Geyer, Oct. 27, 2012

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