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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Auto

Alcohol Fatalities

Sharon L. Peters CTW Features
Q: I’ve seen figures on how many accidents are alcohol-related, but I’ve never seen figures on how many traffic fatalities are. A: About one-fourth (24 percent) of drivers involved in fatal car crashes had a positive blood alcohol concentration, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A reader asks me to share a warning: “Your item on airbags prompts me to write. You should also advise your front seat passengers who put their feet or legs up on the dashboard that they’re flirting with a potential debilitating injury. If they’re sitting as described and there’s an accident or a malfunction of the airbag mechanism and the airbag deploys, it does so in 0.05 seconds at a speed of 63 mph to 200 mph. This would cause a crippling spinal injury and possibly death.” Right he is. And while we’re on the topic of potentially catastrophic (because of unwise human behavior) airbag deployments, may I make this related case, again? Keep your dogs out of the front seat! Please! Not only is a dog in the passenger seat a potential hazard to the driver if the dog decides to, well, act like a dog and jump, lunge or nudge, and not only is it a through-the-windshield risk during a quick stop, airbag deployment can, and sometimes does kill a front-seat-riding dog. Ask any state trooper. Most have seen the horrible aftereffects of a dog riding shotgun. We all know the force of a deployed airbag can injure or kill a child riding in the front seat. Same holds true for dogs. And people who drive with little dogs on their laps? Even worse. Those animals are even closer to the incredible force of a deploying airbag. People who are determined to keep their pets in the front always make this argument: side airbags in the back seat will deploy in an accident too. Correct, but if that happens, the dog isn’t smushed in such a tight confine against an upright seat, as occurs in the front. Deployment will push the animal across the seat, not compress it or snap its neck. Experts always say, though, that the middle of the back seat is probably safest. And dog seatbelts, by the way, have saved dog lives. What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email
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