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April 23, 1997

Alcohol-Impaired Driving: The Family's Tragedy and The Public's Health

Author Affiliations

Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute Philadelphia

JAMA. 1997;277(16):1279. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540400029022

To the Editor.  —As a physician and father of a fourth-year medical student who was killed by a drinking driver, I was not surprised to see the report by Liu and colleagues1 documenting the enormous number of self-reported instances of driving under the influence of alcohol.On the evening of January 29, 1996, our son Jim was returning from residency interviews in Pennsylvania to a family practice clerkship in Plattsburgh, NY, as part of his fourth year at Jefferson Medical College. He was headed north on the New York State Thruway, a 4-lane divided interstate. He was driving within the speed limit with his seat belt in place. When he pulled out to pass, he was immediately struck headon by another driver who was traveling south in the northbound lane. Both drivers were instantly killed.The other driver had 2 recent driving-under-the-influence (DUI) arrests. In September 1995, he had