California DUI deaths rate Drops image

The number of alcohol-related fatalities in California fell last year to its lowest level since record-keeping began, a new report says.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday that 791 people died in California in driving-while-intoxicated crashes, down from 950 in 2009.

“Education is the key thing we use to inform the public about the reality and dangers of drunk driving,” said Officer Mike Harris, a public information officer for the California Highway Patrol.

“We develop programs and different awareness campaigns. Put all those things together and it’s bound to have an impact.”

The Office of Traffic Safety allocated $16.8 million in federal funds to law enforcement agencies to conduct 2,553 DUI checkpoints in 2010, up from the $11.7 million allocated to 1,740 checkpoints in 2009.

According to federal officials, checkpoints have provided the most effective results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, and 88 percent of Californians surveyed report they support the use of checkpoints.

And while the deaths are lower, arrests for DUI’s are on the rise. ” Anytime you can get a DUI driver off the road before the crash, who knows how many lives are being saved”, explained Maxey.