Americans Urged to Keep Things in Perspective

July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM

( - Two lawmakers took to the House floor Wednesday and urged Americans to keep things in perspective when it comes to anthrax.

Both lawmakers pointed out that more Americans die each year in traffic accidents than they do from anthrax infection.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said, "Every day, about 60 people die as a result of drunk driving. Now as bad as the terrorist attacks are, we have lost three people to anthrax in the last nine days. Your chances of being killed by a drunk driver are far, far, far more than your chances of dying from anthrax."

Bartlett concluded, "We must not allow the terrorists to shut down our government. We must not allow them to shut down our country. Please put this in perspective."

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), a scientist by trade, also admonished Americans to keep a level head.

"I am very concerned that our nation seems to be extremely fearful of anthrax. Yet everyday of the week, approximately 120 Americans get killed in car accidents and many more are injured. Yet very few have been affected by terrorist activities," said Ehlers.

Millie Webb, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, wants Americans to put drunken driving in perspective, too. She says the number of drunken driving deaths are too high - and going even higher.

In a recent statement to the press, Webb called it "devastating" that America has lost many thousands of innocent victims to drunken drivers.

Last year alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, America experienced the largest percentage increase in alcohol-related-traffic deaths on record.

"MADD is alarmed by this reversal of 20 years of progress," said Webb.

"During the last few weeks, America has suffered terribly from the senseless deaths of thousands of people, and this news about an increase in drunk driving deaths makes our hearts even heavier. We must do all we can to prevent these senseless tragedies."

Webb also sounded a call for holiday caution: "As road travel increases during the next weeks and months, we call on the nation to do everything possible to prevent drunk driving. MADD knows firsthand the pain of a broken heart. We also know the strength that can come from Americans who want to make a positive difference in our society and on our roadways."

NHTSA said in the year 2000, 16,653 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol, representing 40 percent of the 41,821 people killed in all traffic crashes.