Think drunk drivers can’t strike again? Think again. Habitual drunk drivers make up about 40 percent of all drunk driving trips, according to AAA.

In a release on its Web site, AAA stated that research by its Foundation for Traffic Safety found that “unlicensed and habitual drunk drivers are among the greatest safety threats on the nation’s highways.”

AAA also found that two-thirds of drivers with suspended licenses continue to drive, and that over half of all drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated were repeat offenders.

“Current state laws and procedures that address high-risk drivers are complex, inconsistent and riddled with loopholes,” Yoli Buss, director of traffic safety for AAA Auto Club South, said in the release. “For instance, the screening instruments used to evaluate DWI offenders do a lousy job of identifying problem drinkers. As a result, many chronic drinkers are not found and treated. Far too often, they return to our highways with deadly consequences.”

The research showed that there was a less than one in 50 chance that a drunk driver would be arrested on any given drunk driving trip.

Twenty-four percent of fatal crashes in Tennessee were alcohol related, according to AAA, and 14 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes were driving without a license. In Florida, 18 percent of fatal crashes were alcohol related, while Georgia recorded 16 percent of its fatal crashes as alcohol related.

A Milwaukee, Wis., man was arrested last week for his seventh drunk driving offense, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter. He faces up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for his seventh drunk driving offense.

According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Web site, repeat drunk drivers’ “behavior is difficult to affect. Many have alcohol problems. They tend to be more aggressive and hostile than other drivers, they don’t view drunk driving as a serious issue, and they rarely feel too impaired to drive.”

Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.

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