- July 27, 2016
According to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in three traffic deaths in the U.S. each year involves a drunk driver. While rates of drunk driving and alcohol-related fatal crashes have gone down somewhat in recent years, it is still high. For example, between 2003 and 2012, more than 3,750 New Yorkers were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. It is sobering to contemplate the potential that was lost in those incidents. According to the CDC, drunk drivers get behind the wheel of a car more than 121 million times each year.
Drunk Driving Can Be Prevented (or at Least Reduced)
In recent years, accident experts have identified a number of strategies to prevent, or at least reduce, the incidents of drunk driving. Those efforts include the following:
- Effective drunk driving laws: While lowering the “legal limit” for blood alcohol content (BAC) from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent was opposed by some civil libertarians, that measure, coupled with stricter laws nationwide, has resulted in a decrease of drunk driving deaths and injuries.
- Sobriety checkpoints: While not all states allow them, well-publicized checkpoints where police briefly stop motorists and check for evidence of impairment are important in pushing down the number of drunk drivers on the highway. These type of checkpoints are in place in New York state.
- Ignition interlocks: Under these laws, New York and some other states require the installation of an ignition interlock device on every vehicle that a convicted drunk driver can operate. Although there are variations in the devices, generally the device tests the breath of the driver for the presence of alcohol and prevents the operation of the vehicle until the operator provides an acceptable breath sample. However, a key component of the interlock laws is enforcement. State Comptroller DiNapoli released a report last year indicating that only five percent of convicted drunken drivers in New York City installed interlock devices, even though they were required to do so by law.
- Revocation of licenses: The threat of license revocation has proved to be an effective deterrent to drunk driving. New York administratively revokes the license of drunk drivers and the licenses of those who refuse an alcohol test.
- Media campaigns: While research shows that the viewer/listener can become immune from repetitive public service advertisements, CDC research indicates that mass media campaigns warning about drunk driving has helped reduce the number of fatal accidents due to alcohol.
- School-based instructional programs: The focus of many school-based instructional programs is not only to teach teens of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but that it is also just as dangerous to ride along with such a driver. Peer pressure is strong influencer among young people and their decision-making; these programs try to move that peer pressure to abstain from dangerous habits.
A DWI Conviction Is Costly
No matter where you live, drunk driving is a serious matter. It has important legal and economic implications, and sometimes even deadly consequences. If you have been charged with a DWI offense, it is important that you get legal representation by a skilled, experienced attorney. The penalties for a conviction are severe and expensive. The law firm of Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP has the skill and experience to give you the most aggressive and capable legal defense possible. One of the most highly respected law firms in Hudson Valley, we have offices in Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls. If you have a legal need, we have a solution. As one of the largest firms in Dutchess County, we have the power to bring substantial resources to your case, no matter how complex the issues. Call us at (866) 290-6929 or complete the online form.