Pawtucket auto accident lawyers know and understand that drunk drivers are a major concern during the holiday season. In fact, every year, about 10,000 people are killed in crashes nationwide as a result of a person who is driving under the influence. Now, researchers are saying that there are steps law enforcement and communities can take to curb the epidemic of drunk driving.
Better Enforcement Decreases DUIs
According to researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, when police strictly enforce traffic laws, drunk driving does decrease. A study looked at 30 different communities and tallied their responses to six different measures including tickets issued for reckless driving or failure to buckle up.
The study also looked at how often police officers in a community pulled up suspicious drivers to the side of the road to check their sobriety or the validity of their driver’s license. Researchers found that in communities with a higher number of traffic stops, impaired driving was very low. In communities where there were very few traffic stops, impaired driving was two to three times higher. This study was published online in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Historically DUIs have gone down when police agencies stepped up enforcement. This is because, experts say, when people know that DUI laws are strictly enforced, they think twice about drinking and getting behind the wheel. Also, when people see DUI checkpoints and vehicles pulled to the side of the road by police, they will likely consider their own speed and sobriety.
Numbers back up this theory. Between 1982 and 1997, the United States made significant progress in curbing DUI collisions. This was largely because of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a national advocacy group consisting of families of victims who were killed in DUI collisions. MADD did what law enforcement agencies couldn’t, which is to put faces on fatalities. MADD and other similar groups were also able to successfully pressure state legislatures to get tougher with DUI laws. Between 1982 and 1997, drunk driving nationwide was down by 43 percent.
Time to Do More
Despite the remarkable decreases over the years, DUI crash deaths are still a serious problem in many communities including Rhode Island. DUI collisions often cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. Common examples of injuries sustained in such collisions include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, internal organ damage, broken bones and lacerations. While many countries around the world have brought down the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.05 percent, Rhode Island and other states in the U.S. still have a legal limit of 0.08 percent. That limit has only been lowered (to 0.04 percent) for commercial drivers. If we want the numbers to go down even more, we need to take more steps and execute tougher enforcement while continuing to create awareness about the dangers of impaired driving among younger drivers.
With the legalization of marijuana across the country and the increasing availability of prescription drugs, stringent enforcement becomes critical. If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI collision or as a result of someone else’s negligence, please contact an experienced Pawtucket auto accident lawyer who will fight hard to protect your rights and help ensure that you receive just compensation for all your losses.