DUI, Part 1: How many collisions in West Hollywood are due to alcohol or drugs?
In an earlier analysis, we examined injuries and fatalities from vehicle collisions. In this report, we focus on one cause of collisions, driving under the influence (DUI). We’ll see how West Hollywood differs from nearby cities.
The analysis is based on the number of collisions reported to law enforcement for which the “primary collision factor” was determined to be driving or bicycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We call them “DUI collisions” for short.
DUI collisions in West Hollywood
The chart below shows the number of DUI collisions in West Hollywood. You can see the number for a particular year by hovering over or touching the data point.
The number of DUI collisions started rising 10 years ago. It peaked at 98 — about two a week — in 2012. It dropped back down to 52 — one a week — by 2015. We won’t speculate about the causes.
DUI collision rates
We compare West Hollywood to nearby cities using a DUI collision rate. The rate is the number of DUI collisions per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). We rely on the State’s VMT estimates. VMT is the sum of the miles that everyone drives around the city. We think collisions per VMT is more useful than a per-capita number, which would only count residents.
Based on this metric, DUI collisions appear to be twice as common in West Hollywood as in nearby cities: 31 DUI collisions per 100 million VMT in West Hollywood versus 15 in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Burbank. Culver City (10) and Beverly Hills (6) have fewer. The difference would be even bigger on a per-capita basis.
Injury/fatal alcohol-involved collision rates
We suspect that differences in how police departments handle non-injury collisions may be influencing the numbers. So the chart below focuses on injury/fatal collisions involving alcohol.
Using this collision rate, West Hollywood and Los Angeles are still on top. West Hollywood’s lead shrinks but is still substantial. West Hollywood’s rate of 18 collisions per 100 million VMT is 50% higher than Los Angeles’ rate of 12.
DUI collisions as a % of total
West Hollywood’s DUI collision rate may be higher in part because the overall collision rate is higher. DUI collisions actually make up a smaller share of total collisions in West Hollywood than in most nearby cities. DUI collisions are 6% of all collisions here and up to 9% in nearby cities.
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