Which California Cities Rank Among The Worst For Drunk Driving?}

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Which California Cities Rank Among The Worst For Drunk Driving?


Larry Drexel

With 1,118 alcohol-related fatalities in 2009second Which California Cities Rank Among The Worst For Drunk Driving?only to TexasCalifornia is one of the leading states in the nation for drunk driving. Three of its worst ranking cities that year can be found in Orange County: Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach. Each year, the California Office of Traffic Safety compares the traffic statistics of cities with comparably sized populations, starting at the number 1 for the worst and moving up to the number of cities within a given population category. For example, Huntington Beach, with an average population of 202,857, received a rank of 1/56, meaning its fatal and injury alcohol-related accident rate is higher than 55 cities of a similar size. In recent years, researchers, personal injury lawyers, and the media have taken an interest in Californias OTS Rankings, leading to a greater awareness by residents of the problems their cities face.

What factors determine whether or not a city will have a high incidence of drunk driving crashes? In Huntington Beach, where 195 people died in such accidents in 2009, police have started asking suspected drunk drivers where they had their last drink. For many of them, the last stop of the night was Main Street. Covering just a few blocks of downtown Huntington, 24 of the citys 200 restaurants licensed to serve alcohol can be found there. Police found three establishments especially troublesome: Baja Sharkeez, Hurricanes Bar & Grill, and Killarney Pub & Grill, reported the Huntington Beach Independent. Within a span of 22 months, police arrested 72 of Baja Sharkeezs customers, leading the chief to personally write a letter of concern to the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, which, in turn, prompted an investigation by the agency. While the owner of the venue claims that they do not serve people who are obviously drunk, it remains to be seen what the investigation will reveal and whether or not he will need to hire a lawyer.

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Anyone who has ever visited Main Street on a Friday or Saturday night has probably observed the high concentration of young people, which may be one factor contributing to the citys problem with fatal and injury DUI crashes. The most recently published data on drunk driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, indicate that 35% of the 10,839 alcohol-related traffic fatalities that occurred in 2009 were attributable to drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 years old. The 25-to-35-year-old age group accounted for the second highest percentage with 32%.

These three coastal cities, however, have inland counterparts: Costa Mesa (6/56), Fountain Valley (4/104), and La Habra (5/104). While the concentration of drinking establishments and of young people in a city may offer at least a partial explanation, the situation is obviously much more complex. Fortunately, these cities poor rankings may make them eligible for grants with which to address their high DUI accident rates.

Larry Drexel is a Public Relations manager. To obtain free, informative books or articles he suggests visiting

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