Alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities and arrests saw a decrease while alcohol-impaired traffic crashes and injuries increased in the Washington-metropolitan area in 2016 according to a report released today by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program .

In 2016, Greater Washington recorded 59 alcohol and or drug-impaired traffic fatalities – a more than 21% decrease in such deaths from the previous year. The number of local impaired driving arrests also decreased by nearly three-percent. 

Those findings are contained in WRAP’s 25th-annual “How Safe are Our Roads? Annual Data Report on the Impact of Drunk Driving on Road Safety in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Region.” The report was prepared by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and released by the Falls Church, Virginia-based alcohol-education group. 

“While the report’s numbers show progress in decreasing the number of annual drunk driving deaths in Greater Washington, the fact that we’re still annually arresting nearly 15,000 persons for drunk driving in the Washington-metro area, alone, should give us all pause,” said WRAP’s President Kurt Erickson.

Findings in the released report include:

  • Fatalities: Local alcohol and or drug-related traffic deaths decreased between 2015 and 2016 and by 21.33% (and from 75 to 59 such deaths). Such represents a second consecutive year decrease in the number of local, alcohol-impaired driving deaths.  

  • Crashes: Area traffic crashes attributed to alcohol and or drugs increased by 8.63% between 2015 and 2016 (and from 4,055 to 4,405 such crashes). Such counters the previous year’s decrease in the number of local, alcohol-impaired traffic crashes. 

  • Injuries: Local alcohol and or drug-related traffic injuries also increased by 3.97% between 2015 and 2016 (and from 1,963 to 2,041 such injuries). Such counters the previous year’s decrease in the number of local, alcohol-impaired traffic injuries. 

  • Arrests: Local arrests for either driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated decreased by 2.72% between 2015 and 2016 (and from 14,801 to 14,398 such arrests). Such represents a third consecutive year of declining local arrests for alcohol-impaired driving.

 Of the Washington-metropolitan area’s 245 total traffic fatalities in 2016, nearly a fourth (24.08%) of these roadway deaths were alcohol and or drug-related (.08+ BAC). Comparatively, 2016 national statistics (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) show that 28% of total U.S. vehicular fatalities in that year were reported as alcohol impaired (.08+ BAC). 

            Founded in 1982, the nonprofit [501(c)(3)] Washington Regional Alcohol Program is a coalition of diverse interests using effective education, innovative programs, and targeted advocacy to end alcohol-impaired driving and underage drinking in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Through public education, innovative health education programs and advocacy, WRAP is credited with keeping the metro-Washington area’s alcohol-related traffic deaths historically lower than the national average. WRAP, however, may best be known to area residents via the organization’s popular free cab ride service to prevent drunk driving, SoberRide®.


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