By Melody Pettit
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:29 PM CST, January 1, 2012
Getting drunk drivers off the road is one of the main missions for the Kansas Highway Patrol.
"We spend a great deal of time in that area," said LT David Hundley with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
That's why when the latest numbers of alcohol related fatalities came out, they were surprised.
"Obviously it's frustrating for us being as how it's one of our largest focuses," Hundley said.
While nationally, the number drunk driving fatalities fell almost 5% in 2010, they actually increased in Kansas by about 36% and according to Federal Transportation officials that's the Country's second biggest increase behind New York.
"Isn't that kind of sad?" asked Mary Ann Khoury.
Khoury works for the DUI Victims Center of Kansas and was on the Kansas DUI Commission. She blames the Kansas Legislature for not taking action.
"I felt sad that after all the meetings and all the recommendations that the Kansas DUI Commission made to the Legislature...were not considered and not approved," Khoury said.
In 2008 the State had 138 alcohol related fatalities. It went down in 2009 to 123 but in 2010 it jumps to 168."We will work that much harder to educate and enforce and see where that takes us," said Hundley.
State Patrol officials say they are looking at the numbers to see what more they can do but Khoury says it's up to the public to put pressure on lawmakers.
"They need to contact their legislatures and say 'let's get moving,'" said Khoury.
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