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Alcohol-related traffic arrests jump 30% in Alexandria

Police car lights (file photo)

The number of traffic crashes and injuries is on the rise in Alexandria, according to a new report from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).

Alcohol-related traffic arrests in Alexandria rose 29% in 2021, with 230 incidents reported. However, 2020 was a pandemic year that saw fewer drivers on the road and 178 total alcohol-related traffic arrests — the lowest number in many years.

“The timing of this report is poignant as we enter the holiday season, a time of year when we see increases in impaired driving” said COG Police Chiefs Committee Chair and Laurel Police Chief Russell E. Hamill, III. “Around this time, we see as many as nearly half of all traffic deaths involve drunk drivers.”

Traffic injuries in Alexandria were up 11% in 2021, with 466 people injured. Regionally, more than 24,000 people were injured in traffic events last year — an increase of 19%, according to the annual How Safe Are Our Roads? Report prepared by COG for the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).

There were seven traffic fatalities in 2021 in Alexandria, the same as in 2020. This year is not included in the report, although there have been a number of traffic-related deaths.

Throughout Northern Virginia there were 104 total traffic fatalities last year — a 30% increase. Northern Virginia’s traffic fatalities made up more than one-third of the 341 total traffic deaths in the D.C. Metro area, which also rose 15%.

According to the report:

In Alexandria in 2021:

  • There were 1,096 total traffic crashes, up 14%
  • There were 466 total traffic injuries, up 11%
  • There were 69 alcohol-related traffic crashes, up 1%
  • There were 34 alcohol-related traffic injuries, down 1%
  • There was one alcohol-related traffic fatality in Alexandria, down 50%

For drivers under the age of 21

  • There were zero alcohol-related fatalities
  • There were 135 crashes, seven alcohol-related crashes (up 5%)
  • There were 52 injuries, with five alcohol-related injuries (up 10%)
  • There were seven alcohol-related arrests (up 1%)