DUIs Deaths Down in Last Decade
Enforcement, technology credited in drop
Nearly 2,000 Anchorage residents are arrested every year for drunk driving; this year three people have lost their lives.
In the last decade, DUI arrests in Anchorage have gone down significantly; back in 2002 there were 20 alcohol related deaths, in 2010 five people died, and so far this year there have been three DUI deaths.
“The message is getting thorough; people are hearing the message,” said Lt. Dave Parker, spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department.
Police say aggressive enforcement and technology like DUI ignition locks have helped curb the problem.
DUI offenders are required by law to install these locks in their vehicles, for a minimum of six months for a first offense.
“They’re very difficult to defeat and if you have alcohol on your breath, your car is not going to start,” said Parker.
But the system is far from perfect because offenders often fail the breath tests, but prosecutors say it ultimately serves it’s purpose.
“This interlock ignition prevented this driver from driving 81 times: Do interlock ignition locks work? How can you argue that they don’t?” said Jennifer Messick, the municipalities DUI prosecutor.
It’s just one tool police say will hopefully prevent more people from losing their lives.