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Califorina drunken driving deaths down

August 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Officials say drunk driving deaths are down in California.Sgt. Bobby Kirk from the LAPD surveyed an intersection in Reseda on Wednesday, where a sobriety checkpoint will be over the Labor Day weekend. Kirk believes strict enforcement is helping to keep drunken drivers off the road.

"The San Fernando Valley, as far as DUI related collisions, were down seven percent from the previous year. So, we're down seven percent ... We're out there trying to aggressively spot and identify the DUI driver," said Kirk.

A drunken driving accident happens once every 31 minutes. In addition, drunken drivers account for one-third of all traffic related deaths.

The good news is that across the nation drunken driving fatalities have declined for the first time in 10 years.

California leads the way with the greatest decrease. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,240 deaths in 2006 involving impaired drivers. The number dropped by 6 percent last year, to 3,974.

"Our goal is always to eliminate drunk driving from our nation's roadways. This is a deadly crime. And while we're pleased to see a nearly four percent drop, we won't be satisfied until we have eliminated drunk driving from our nation's roads," said Nicole Nason, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Extra officers will be watching drivers over the Labor Day weekend. Studies show high visibility enforcement reduces the number of drunken drivers on the road.

"If you randomly spoke with young adults here, they would tell you that most of the time, that they do pick a designated driver. They have somebody that is going to take care of them for the night. We're seeing more and more of that and that's a good thing," said Kirk.

The maximum enforcement period will last until Sept. 3.

 

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