According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, California DUI deaths have dropped 9.1% for the third year in a row. In 2007 nearly 1,132 people died in DUI accidents, while in 2008, the number decreased to 1,029.
“With this third year of declines in DUI deaths, we can truly call it a trend, a trend of life saving importance,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).
“Law enforcement, state and local agencies, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other safety advocates, and the people of California have come together to address this deadly problem and are now seeing the results. As positive as these figures are, though, we can never let up until we achieve our goal of zero deaths.”
The count for 2008 marks a total decrease of nearly 21% from the most recent high statistic in 2005.
California has used many different tactics to address the DUI problem, including increasing youth public awareness programs, as well as hospital and jail based intervention programs.
The state has also expanded prosecution and probation. Police have increased DUI checkpoints, the Avoid DUI Taskforces program and Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911 campaign.
This weekend is one of celebration as friends and family gather to enjoy fireworks, food and fun. Utahans will be celebrating the holiday like many other people, but the citizens of the state have a little more to be joyful over this year.
Forty years ago, the state passed a private club law, requiring people to have a membership to a bar in order to buy alcohol. The membership was designed with help from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to limit alcohol consumption and could cost anywhere between $20 and $40 a year.
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. convinced the Utah Legislature to repeal the private club law because it negatively affected tourism, which brings in about $7 billion a year.
Although lawmakers repealed the law, Utah DUI laws were toughened, requiring bars to scanning driver licenses’ of patrons who are under 35 years old and keeping the records for the week.
Senate President Michael Waddoups said the number of DUI arrests or DUI accidents will be monitored to see if the law has a negative affect.
“Obviously my biggest concern is the safety of our citizens, our families, the drivers on the roads,” he told the press, but there are new tools for law enforcement to crack down on DUI, which could leave the state “better off than we were before, so I’m willing to give it a try.”
For now, Utahans are organizing barcrawls in downtown Salt Lake City to celebrate their “newfound freedom.”