32 states see fewer drunken driving deaths

A new report out this month suggests people are getting the message about driving drunk.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of drunken driving related deaths dropped in Tennessee and 31 other states last year compared to 2006.

The news, however, is not all good.

The number of alcohol-related road deaths involving motorcycles jumped in 25 states, including Tennessee.

Metro police pointed to the growing number of new motorcycle riders to explain the trend.

Sgt. John Pepper, Metro police, said, “We talked about the complex operational controls of the motorcycle, you add alcohol into the mix, with a new driver, they see a hazard, a new situation, something in the roadway or the deer that runs across the road, they're not sure how to react and they have a hard time figuring out what to do on this new two-wheel motor vehicle as opposed to the four-wheel motor vehicle they've operated in the past.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling on states to move the age for issuing driver's licenses to 17 or even 18.

According to statistics, the crash rate for 16-year-olds is 10 times the rate for drivers age 30 to 59 and more than 5,000 U.S. teens die each year in car crashes.

New Jersey is the only state to currently issue licenses at age 17 and their crash rates have been lower in various studies.

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