Washington, D.C., Jan. 23 – Alcohol-related crashes, injuries and drunk driving arrests all decreased in the Washington-metropolitan area in 2017. During this same period, however, alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities increased according to a report released today by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).

In 2017, Greater Washington recorded 86 alcohol and or drug-impaired traffic fatalities – a 46-percent increase in such deaths from the previous year.

Those findings are contained in WRAP’s 26th-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 (COG) and released by the Falls Church, Virginia-based alcohol-education group.

 “The facts that the number of drunk driving deaths increased in Greater Washington in 2017 and that, that same year, the region averaged a DUI arrest every 38 minutes demonstrate that the local fight against drunk driving is far from won,” said WRAP’s President Kurt Erickson.

Findings in today’s released report include:

  • FATALITIES: Local alcohol and or drug-impaired traffic deaths increased between 2016 and 2017 by 45.76% (and from 59 to 86 such deaths). Comparatively, alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities have increased by 11.7% since 2010 (77 to 86, 2010-2017).
  • CRASHES: Area traffic crashes attributed to alcohol and or drugs decreased by 2.57% between 2016 and 2017 (and from 4,438 to 4,324 such crashes). Comparatively, alcohol-related traffic crashes have decreased by 6.05% since 2010 (4,545 to 4,270, 2010-2017).
  • INJURIES: Local alcohol and or drug-related traffic injuries also decreased by 7.14% between 2016 and 2017 (and from 2,074 to 1,926 such injuries). Comparatively, alcohol-related traffic injuries have decreased by 18.6% since 2010 (2,311 to 1,880, 2010-2017).
  • ARRESTS: Local arrests for either driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) decreased by 8.08% between 2016 and 2017 (and from 14,757 to 13,564 such arrests). Such represents a fourth consecutive year of declining local arrests for alcohol-impaired driving.

Of the Washington-metropolitan area’s 271 total traffic fatalities in 2017, nearly a third (31.73%) of these roadway deaths were alcohol and or drug-related (.08+ BAC). Comparatively, 2017 national statistics (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) show that 29% 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 safe ride service to prevent drunk driving, SoberRide®.

For more information, visit WRAP’s web site at www.wrap.org.

WRAPS’s 2018 “How Safe are Our Roads?” report can be found as a PDF here.