Drunk driving fatalities in the District of Columbia increased 46% in 2017.
 - Photo via James Palinsad/Flickr.

Drunk driving fatalities in the District of Columbia increased 46% in 2017.

Photo via James Palinsad/Flickr.

While drunk driving incidents have decreased in the District of Columbia and surrounding area, DUI-related fatalities have risen by approximately 46% in 2017 — going from 59 lost lives in 2016 to 86 in 2017, reports WJLA.

Of the region's 271 total roadway fatalities in 2017, an estimated 32% were related to drugs and/or alcohol, reports the Washington Post.

The data comes from a new report released by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.

Noteworthy, DUI-related crashes, injuries and arrests in the DC-area all decreased in 2017 by 2.5%, 7% and 8%, respectively, reports WJLA.

Program officials say there is no clear answer as to why fatalities rose so significantly.

Total crashes dropped from 4,438 in 2016 to 4,324 in 2017 while arrests dipped from 14,757 in 2016 to 13,564 in 2017, reports the Post.

Program spokespeople say the fact that the region averaged a DUI arrest every 38 minutes in 2017 demonstrates that there is still more work to be done in the battle against impaired driving, note reports.

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