Mississippi sees fewer deaths from drunk driving

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi no longer ranks among the top 10 states for deaths caused by drunk drivers, thanks to a big drop in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2010.

Gov. Phil Bryant and law enforcement officials announced Wednesday that Mississippi’s rate of alcohol-related deaths per million miles driven fell sharply in 2010, the last year with complete statistics.

Mississippi’s rate of drunk-driving deaths has fallen to 20th among states, although it’s still above the national rate.

Alcohol-related traffic deaths in Mississippi fell from 364 in 2009 to 231 in 2010. That’s a 37 percent drop.

Among those who spoke Wednesday was Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford, whose daughter, Deanna Tucker, was hit in April 2011 by a drunk driver. Tucker died within hours at a hospital.