DUI Alcohol and Drug Statistics

Fresno, CA The Federal Government started doing random tests of drivers in 1973. Back then seven and a half per cent were found to driving with a blood alcohol level of over .8 per cent. Today, that's considered legally drunk. The numbers have gone down every decade. In 2007 they fell to just 2.2 percent.

But at the same time, the number of drivers found to be under the influence of a drug, most commonly marijuana or methamphetamine was at more than 16 percent. Such tests weren't done in previous years. Lynn Goodman is an activist involved in cracking down on drunk driving.

"It wasn't five years ago that my daughter was killed by a drinking driver that had drugs in their system. And they couldn't even do anything with the drug charges because nobody knew what they meant. What the amount meant, what that amount of drugs in your system, nanograms of meth, what that means to your level of impairment." She said.

In California alcohol related accidents claimed nearly 15 hundred lives in 2007. Nearly 31 thousand people were injured. Drugs were blamed in 749 deaths and more than 24 hundred injuries. Law enforcement agencies have increased enforcement of alcohol, and drug impaired driving.

Axel Reyes of the California Highway Patrol says officers are becoming more aware of drugged drivers. "Officers are starting to recognize the symptoms from drugs and from education from the officers training, we do arrest a lot more than we did in the past." Reyes said.

While fewer people may be drinking and driving, DUI arrests in the Central Valley are on the rise. From a low of just under 23 hundred arrests in 2005, they surged by nearly 600 year last year, and are also up so far this year.

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