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Drunken driving remains a terrible scourge across the nation, and yes, here in Utah.
According to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2006 Utah had the largest percentage increase in DUI deaths recorded in the United States - from 33 drunken driving fatalities in 2005 to 54 in 2006 - a whopping 63.6 percent increase.
Granted, as Utah safety experts are quick to point out, the statistic can be misleading.
Because Utah records relatively few DUI fatalities each year - the lowest actual number in the nation - any increase in such deaths tends to translate into a higher percentage than other states. States such as Arizona, Louisiana and Texas registered hundreds more actual DUI deaths, but because their numbers are so high to begin with, the percentage increase was much smaller.
Still, there is cause for concern here in the Beehive State.
Even one tragic DUI death is one too many. And when families are the victims, as has occurred in Utah far too often, there should be zero tolerance for those who flagrantly and carelessly drink and drive.
With the Labor Day weekend approaching, KSL appreciates the fact state and federal highway safety officials are planning a nationwide crackdown on this insidious plague. Beyond the holiday, efforts to curb drunken driving must continue unabated.