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Mississippi is reducing the amount of deaths caused by drunk

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Mississippi is reducing the amount of deaths caused by drunk driving
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Carleton Pepper, victim of a motor vehicle accident involving alcohol
Courtesy of the Pepper family

Fewer Mississippians are dying in alcohol-related motor-vehicle crashes, according to a new report. MPB's Ashley Norwood has more.

Mississippi is seeing one of the biggest decreases in drunk driving fatality rates. Between 2000 and 2017, drunk driving deaths reduced by more than half. That's according to a new report using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The report's author is Adam Johnson of the insurance comparison website QuoteWizard. He attributes the decline to technology and awareness of drunk driving issues.

Dr. Alan Jones is over the emergency medicine division at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says about half of all motor vehicle accidents involve alcohol.

"The majority of the patients that we see survive. Now some proportion of them will not survive their hospital stay but it's relatively low," said Jones.

Although fatalities are going down in Mississippi, Charles Pepper says any death is still too many.

Next month makes 10 years since his younger brother was struck by a drunk driver at an intersection less than a block away from home.

"No one could ever replace Carleton. Life for us as a family has not been the same. Not a day goes by that I don't think about my younger brother," said Pepper.

Carleton Pepper was just 18 years old. He sustained traumatic brain injuries that left him bed ridden for five years. He died in 2014.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide are coordinating on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. The report says Mississippi is one of the nation's leaders in reducing the number of deaths caused by drunk driving.

Ashley Norwood, MPB News.