Traffic crashes rose last year, but fatalities dropped as did tickets and DUI arrests by the Sonoma County CHP, according to the latest statistics.

A total of 2,485 crashes were investigated by the local CHP, which covers Sonoma County except for part of the Sonoma Valley. That’s up from 2,405 in 2010 and 2,324 in 2009.

Sixteen people died in last year’s crashes — “that’s the lowest number in a long time,” said CHP Officer Jon Sloat, the spokesman for the local office. Two of those deaths were blamed on DUI drivers. For injuries last year, 787 were reported in the 2,485 crashes.

In 2010, 26 people were killed in crashes, with 11 blamed on DUIs. In 2009,  there were 22 deaths with nine linked to DUIs.

DUI arrests by the CHP last year were 1,261 compared to 1,403 in 2010 and 1,537 in 2009.

Sloat said DUI arrests are down statewide and that’s been credited, at least in part, to DUI checkpoints and an increase in public awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Total arrests, which counts people actually taken into custody, were 1,770 last year compared to 1,984 in 2010 and 2,075 in 2009.

Total tickets fell to 35,385 last year compared to 37,003 in 2010 and 37,378 in 2009.

Sloat said it wasn’t clear why tickets dropped, but “the point of writing tickets is to get people to follow the rules” and helping drivers stay safe so that nobody gets hurt.

For the Mendocino County CHP, here are the stats:

–629 crashes last year compared to 666 in 2010.

–8 fatalities compared to 7 in 2010.

–316 DUI arrest compared to 453 in 2010.

For the Lake County CHP:

–621 crashes last year vs. 640 in 2010.

–13 deaths vs. 14 in 2010.

–294 DUI arrests vs. 369 in 2010.

–927 arrests vs. 1,230 in 2010.

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