The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning released statistics this week showing an increase in alcohol- and drug-related crashes, fatalities and injuries in the last year. However, a five-year picture shows an overall decline, with alcohol involvement decreasing more rapidly than drug involvement.
The 2012 Michigan Drunk Driving audit showed that traffic deaths resulting from alcohol- and/or drug-related crashes jumped 7.2 percent, from 319 in 2011 to 342 in 2012, while injuries increased from 6,086 to 6,177. Drug involvement in traffic fatalities increased 6.3 percent, from 127 deaths in 2011 to 135 in 2012, while alcohol involvement climbed 2.6 percent, from 274 to 281. Seventy-four deaths involved both alcohol and drugs and were counted in each category.
The increases come after dramatic drops in all categories in 2011. It should be noted deaths involving alcohol and/or drugs have fallen by 9.8 percent over the past five years. Alcohol-involved traffic deaths have decreased by 11.4 percent since 2008, while drug-involved deaths have declined by 3.6 percent.
“Although 2012 saw increases in impaired driving deaths and injuries, the overall trend in Michigan is a positive one,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police (MSP). “Officers in Michigan have been and will continue to make impaired driving enforcement a priority.”
The Drunk Driving Audit is an annual report issued by the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center and is a collaborative effort between MSP and the Michigan Department of State.
“While the overall decline in injuries and deaths over the last five years is encouraging, the 2012 report shows we must be vigilant and continue to educate drivers about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “Law enforcement does an exceptional job and our driver education partners are doing everything they can to educate drivers but it’s going to take all of us working together to save lives and make our roads safe.”
In 2012, officers made 37,182 alcohol and drug-related driving arrests. Male drivers were nearly three times as likely as female drivers to be arrested for impaired driving, with 27,606 men arrested compared to 9,576 women. There were 36,322 persons convicted of operating under the influence of liquor or other impaired driving offenses. Some of these convictions include arrests made in prior years.
The 2012 Drunk Driving Audit includes county-specific information and is available at Michigan.gov/drunkdrivingaudit.