Numbers show deadly vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania are down, but 11 Investigates' Catherine Varnum
uncovered the numbers show a different trend in Western Pennsylvania.
The numbers show not only are the number of deadly crashes on the rise, but deadly crashes involving alcohol are also up.
11 Investigates rode with Moon Township police officers on a Friday night as they stopped car after car looking for drunk drivers, and trying to save lives.
While the number of deaths from drunk-driving accidents dropped statewide in the last year, they spiked in Allegheny County. In 2015, nine people were killed in drunk-driving accidents in Allegheny County. That number rose to 19 in 2016.
Briauna Slaughter was one of the victims killed in a drunk-driving crash. She was a passenger in a car that crashed on March 13, and died at just 21-years-old.
"Being my sister lost her life due to a drunk driver, it's indescribable," said Tyler Kirkland, Briauna's brother.
It wasn't just deadly crashes involving drunk drivers that were on the rise in Allegheny County. All fatal crashes increased from 49 in 2015 to 67 in 2016. That's compared to a record low statewide of 1,188 deaths last year.
"I know countywide there has been an increase. Now, as to whether that's a result of better enforcement, being able to detect the impaired driver that's quite possible.
It's hard to envision people decide to drink more. I don't think that's a good idea, but I don't exclude the possibility. I don't have a reason for that," said Sgt. Doug Ogden, with the Moon Township Police Department.
Malcolm Friend, who works for the Pennsylvania chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), says people need to do a better job of planning ahead.
"Drunk driving is a 100 percent preventable crime, and it just takes people to think just for a moment, before they go out, how are they going to get home safely," said Friend.
Police told 11 Investigates that checkpoints and traffic stops will continue in Allegheny County until all drunk drivers are off the streets.
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