California DUI Deaths, Injuries, Arrests and Repeats Down


March 31, 1997

DUI Deaths, Injuries, Arrests and Repeats Continue to Drop

Deaths from alcohol related accidents fell again in 1995, as did
injuries, DUI arrests and repeat offenses, according to an annual report
to the legislature issued by the California Department of Motor

"The report reflects an unprecedented change in public behavior that
saves hundreds of lives yearly," said Department of Motor Vehicles
Director Sally Reed. "This is the sixth straight year the numbers have
declined," she added.

She said the change was brought about by public pressure, tough new
laws, strong law enforcement efforts and public education campaigns.
Alcohol related deaths, which peaked at 2,754 in 1987, fell to less than
half that at 1,343 in 1995. Reed said though she was pleased with the
improvement, she realizes that each death is a cause for concern.

The survey shows about 90 percent of DUI offenders are male, the
average age is 33 years old, and the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
averages almost .17 — more than twice the legal limit of .08.

The report shows that DUI offenders were less likely to be repeaters
than in previous years. In 1989, repeat offenders accounted for 37
percent of DUI convictions. That figure dropped to 31 percent in 1994,
the last year for which data is complete. Applying the percentages to raw
numbers makes the drop more dramatic from about 80,500 repeaters in 1989
to 45,000 in 1994.

In evaluating which sanctions prevent repetition of DUI offenses, the
report concludes that those given license restrictions combined with a
treatment program do at least 12 percent better than with any other

The data also shows that jail was the least effective penalty for
first offenders. First time offenders sentenced to jail had 20 percent
more subsequent DUI incidents than those sentenced to other DUI
sanctions. Sanctions evaluated were probation, jail, various alcohol
treatment programs, license suspensions by DMV and the courts, and
mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.

Approximately 73 percent of all those arrested were convicted of a DUI
offense and another 9 percent were convicted of reckless driving
involving alcohol.

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