Utahns seem to be getting smarter about drinking and driving, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Utah Health Department. But the figures are still alarming.

According to the report, "Drinking and Driving in Utah: A Status Report," a survey found that 14,600 Utahns admitted to drinking and driving in 1990. That's a staggering number, but it's far fewer than the 1985 total of 26,000.The reduction amounts to about 35 percent every year.

Christine Chalkley of the Utah Bureau of Health Promotion attributed the decrease to public awareness of the danger of drinking and driving, and tougher laws.

The survey may not reflect the true total, because many won't admit breaking the law and others don't realize they had too much to drink before they started the car. But the data do reveal a clear pattern that the numbers are shrinking.

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The information is reinforced by the fact that in the same five-year period, the Utah Department of Public Safety found that alcohol-related fatalities decreased as well, from 110 in 1985 to 60 in 1990.

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