Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that drunk driving deaths in the United States are once again headed in the right direction. The latest data attributes 10,076 deaths in 2013 to intoxicated driving—a 2.5% decline from 2012. And December 2013 saw the fewest number of drunk driving deaths during the year—a surprising shift given that historically the holiday season is the deadliest time on the roads.
The decline is welcome news after deaths from alcohol-involved crashes rose in 2012 for the first time in nearly a decade. However, the 2013 numbers are still above the 2011 totals, when annual drunk driving fatalities dipped below 10,000 for the first time since NHTSA began keeping track.
The 2013 statistics were announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx during the launch of NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday crackdown. Between December 15 and January 1, many jurisdictions are adding extra DUI patrols and checkpoints in response to the surge in drunk driving that comes with the holidays. NHTSA is expected to release more details about the 2013 figures at a later date.