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Deaths From Drunk Driving Fall 20%

Aired 10/5/11 on KPBS News.

Drunk driving deaths have declined nationwide, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the percentage of driving fatalities that are alcohol-related have not.

— A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows nationwide, drunk driving fatalities fell by 20 percent between 2006 and 2009. But there remain some disturbing trends.

While the overall number of DUI deaths has declined, the percentage of all fatal crashes that are alcohol-related has not. The agency says about one-third of driving deaths involve at least one alcohol-impaired driver.

In California, the proportion of DUI arrests under age 21 has increased over the last decade. What's more, state officials say the percentage of women DUI offenders has risen every year since 1989.

The CDC says one method of reducing drunk driving is to require all offenders to use ignition interlock devices on their cars. These are breath analyzers connected to a car's ignition.

At least 11 states require violators to have one installed on their vehicle. They are not mandatory in California.

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