Alcohol-related traffic deaths climb in 2004 - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Alcohol-related traffic deaths climb in 2004

August 23, 2005

Albany- Twisted metal, broken glass, and a tragic injury or loss of life. State troopers say deadly crashes are the hardest to work.

"Recently, it's not uncommon for us to get called out on a Tuesday morning, Monday morning, work night and we're finding out a lot of people aren't learning. They're still wanting to get out and drive drunk or under the influence," says Trooper Scott McClure.

Last year, 37 more people died in alcohol-related crashes on Georgia roads than in 2003. State troopers say they've also seen more drivers who are under the influence of drugs.

"I've noticed the drug cases from DUI has gone up marijuana, cocaine and we've had some ecstasy," McClure says.

But in Dougherty County officials say they are seeing a reverse trend.

"We've actually seen about a 25% decrease in the number of alcohol crashes in since 2000. About 112 in 2000, and last year we had 73," says Michelle DeMott of Albany Safe Communities.

DeMott says frequent road checks, high visibility enforcement, and increased patrols by Dougherty County law enforcement have played a big factor in the reduced numbers.

"The people who are out there who might be inclined to get behind the wheel tend to think twice because they know that they have seen us out," DeMott says.

If increasing patrols will keep motorists from driving impaired and causing fatal wrecks, officials say that's what they are willing to do.

Nationwide the number of alcohol-related fatalities dropped by more than 220 from 2003 to 2004, That's a 2% decrease.

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