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California Briefing / Statewide

DUI deaths drop, with an exception

July 17, 2009|Mitchell Landsberg

Drunk driving deaths in California dropped for a third straight year in 2008, the state Office of Traffic Safety said Thursday, but motorcycle fatalities continued a decade-long rise, mirroring a national increase.

Overall, traffic deaths dropped by 14% in 2008, to 3,434, the state said, using figures released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Alcohol- related deaths accounted for slightly less than one-third of the total, and were down 9.1% -- a slightly smaller decline than for the nation as a whole. Over three years, drunk driving deaths in California were down nearly 21%.

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow attributed the decline "to hard, innovative work in education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical services."

State officials expressed concern, however, over the increase in motorcycle fatalities, which rose 8.1% to 560. They have more than doubled since beginning to rise in 1998.

-- Mitchell Landsberg

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