Alcohol-linked deaths on the road increase
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.