2019 Memorial Weekend in Los Angeles Sees Surge in Traffic Fatalities and DUI Arrests

Memorial Day Weekend 2019 saw an alarming surge in DUI arrests and alcohol-related crashes. The California Highway Patrol says that in the first 30 hours of the weekend, there were 741 DUI arrests and 18 people lost their lives.

At this point it’s too early to tell how many of those who died were from alcohol-related crashes, but if history repeats, a good portion of those will be. The CHP did say that out of the 18 who died, nearly half were not wearing seat belts.

Memorial Day Prevention Blitz

The CHP was out in force at the beginning of the weekend to try to stop problems before they happened. Starting Friday evening and going until Midnight Monday, all CHP officers were to make a “maximum effort” to catch impaired drivers.

This seems to have paid off as the numbers were down from 2018. Last year there were 28 traffic fatalities across the state for the same weekend and 43 alcohol-related injury crashes. There are also around 1060 DUI arrests throughout the whole weekend.

Contrasting this with 2019, the traffic death toll is 21 with around 973 DUI arrests which is a significant decrease from last year.

Impaired Driving Trends

The last several decades saw a significant drop in DUI deaths, accidents and arrests, but this trend is leveling off in some states and beginning to reverse itself in other states. In California, the trend downward from a high of 2961 continued until 2011 with a low of 886 in 2011. From there it has ticked up each year to a 2017 high of 1,116.

Experts aren’t sure why the number rose from 2011, but if this years Memorial Day numbers hold, it looks like that trend might be leveling off or even reversing. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson says that there is a new trend in other-than-alcohol impaired driving that includes opiates, prescription drugs and marijuana.

Although it’s too early to tell if the increase in DUI deaths are from these alcohol alternatives, by putting a focus on these and other impaired driving, the CHP and other agencies hope that the 2019 Memorial Day success will start a downward trend in impaired driving deaths and injuries.


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