So, there’s good news and bad news … which would you like first? The good news? OK, here goes – the good news is that for about a decade there was a steady decline in drunk driving incidents here in Michigan. That’s great, right? However, the bad news is that in the last few years, that trend has shifted, and now we’re headed in the opposite direction! Wait, what?
We don’t have the numbers for 2017, (after all, the year isn’t over yet!) but we can compare the data for the years before that, and the stats are more than a little concerning. In total, there were 37,461 people killed in car crashes in the U.S. during 2016, which is an increase from 2015’s total of 35,485. While the data does show that the increase from 2015 to 2016 is actually smaller, percentage wise, than the increase from 2014 to 2015. But it’s still an increase. The numbers have gone up every year since 2013.
What does this have to do with drunk driving?
The number of people killed in car crashes is much higher than the number of people who died in alcohol related crashes. Not all car crashes are the result of alcohol! However, the drunk driving fatality number has also risen in recent years.
In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-related car crashes, while in 2015 the total was 10,333. It’s not as staggering a jump, certainly, but once again the numbers have gone up. That means that there were more drunk driving fatalities last year than the year before, and the year before that.
Why are our DUI trends changing?
Authorities can’t agree on exactly what factors are responsible for the initial steady decline in drunk driving deaths, and then for the reversal in the trend. Some say the initial reduced number of fatal crashes were due to greater awareness among the public. But how does that explain the recent increase?
Others say the increase we’re now seeing is because of police department cuts, which is the result of budget challenges faced by almost every police department. This means fewer police officers on the roads to intervene before someone loses their life. Ultimately, we can speculate all day long, but no one knows for sure.
What can we do about it in the future?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says that the solution lies in the “development of advanced vehicle technology, called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS, and autonomous vehicle technology.” But ask around, and you’ll get a different answer for everyone.
Some say the answer lies in more aggressive education and awareness campaigns. Others claim the solution is nothing more than high-visibility law enforcement, in the form of regular sobriety checkpoints and increased street patrols. So, will these work to reverse the rising tide? Can more cops, beter tech, and more education solve Michigan’s drunk driving problems of the future? Only time will tell.
Do you need help with a DUI charge?
If you’ve been arrested for drinking and driving in Michigan, then you already know how serious this is. Prosecutors all over Michigan take drunk driving charges very seriously, and the penalties in our law reflect that. Which is why, if you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, OWI or drugged driving, you need to call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled drunk driving defense attorneys have spent decades refining their defense skills, and we’re available to help you too!