Al­co­hol-linked deaths on the road in­crease

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - — Luz Lazo

One-third of all traf­fic deaths in the Washington re­gion are al­co­hol-re­lated, and that num­ber ap­pears to be on the rise, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

The in­crease in fa­tal­i­ties, how­ever, comes as en­force­ment tar­get­ing drunk driv­ers ap­pears to be up in the re­gion, with nearly 18,000 ar­rests made for driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence in 2013 — an av­er­age of one per­son ev­ery 30 min­utes, ac­cord­ing to the re­port by the Washington Re­gional Al­co­hol Pro­gram ( WRAP) and the Metropoli­tan Washington Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments.

The data also sug­gests that the en­force­ment may be help­ing re­duce al­co­hol-re­lated traf­fic in­juries and crashes.

Of the re­gion’s 243 road­way fa­tal­i­ties in 2013, 81, or about 33.3 per­cent, were re­lated to al­co­hol, drugs or both, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. That num­ber was up from 68 fa­tal­i­ties the pre­vi­ous year. The an­nual “How Safe Are Our Roads?” re­port pro­vides the latest data avail­able on DUI fa­tal­i­ties and paints the in­crease as a set­back for the re­gion af­ter years of a down­ward trend in the num­ber of al­co­hol-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties.

That same year, po­lice made 17,724 al­co­hol-re­lated ar­rests, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which uses data gath­ered by the Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments from the lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions in the Dis­trict, Mary­land and Vir­ginia. The num­ber of ar­rests was up 2 per­cent from 2012, when 17,341 ar­rests were made, and it was the largest in nearly two decades, ac­cord­ing to WRAP.

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