2012-07-19 / Community

Audit shows decrease in drunk driving crashes

LANSING – The 2011 Michigan Drunk Driving Audit shows declines in alcohol and drugrelated crashes, fatalities and injuries.

Overall, deaths resulting from alcohol and/or drug-related crashes decreased by 10.6 percent, from 357 in 2010 to 319 in 2011, while injuries fell from 6,175 to 6,086. Drug involvement in traffic fatalities fell almost 17 percent, from 153 deaths in 2010 to 127 in 2011, while alcohol involvement declined three percent, from 283 to 274. In many cases, deaths involved both alcohol and drugs and are counted in each category.

Prior to 2011’s decrease, druginvolved traffic fatalities had increased by nearly 30 percent over the past five years. As part of an effort to address this issue, Michigan trained 15 Drug Recognition Experts last year. DREs are trained to recognize signs of impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol and to identify the category or categories of drugs causing the impairment. A second group of 13 officers completed training in 2012, and a third class is planned for 2013.

“Drug-involved deaths and injuries have been increasing across the country,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. “Officers in Michigan will continue to receive advanced training to help them identify and arrest drunk and drugged drivers in an effort to make our roads safer.”

The Drunk Driving Audit is an annual report issued by the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center and is a collaborative effort between MSP and the Michigan Department of State.

“Keeping Michigan’s roads safe is a priority across government and educating the public is a big part of that effort,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “So much of what we do at the Secretary of State targets awareness and safe driving, programs that run in parallel with law enforcement – it’s a true partnership.”

In 2011, 37,540 alcohol and drug-related driving arrests were made. Male drivers were nearly three times as likely as female drivers to be arrested for impaired driving, with 27,741 men arrested compared to 9,799 women. There were 37,431 persons convicted of operating under the influence of liquor or other impaired driving offenses. Some of these convictions include arrests made in prior years.

The 2011 Drunk Driving Audit includes county-specific information and is available at www.michigan.gov/ drunkdrivingaudit.

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