A new study released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (www.madd.org) shows that an estimated 2 million repeat DUI offenders will share our roadways this holiday season. About 400,000 of those have five or more convictions. MADD’s numbers are based on data reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by 20 states and the District of Columbia. Our source for this blog was this news report in the Fresno Bee.
MADD also released its annual state progress report, which shows that California leads the list of 23 states for the highest number of repeat DUI offenders behind the wheel. California apparently has 310,971 three-time offenders and about 44,000 five-time offenders, according to MADD’s research.
These telling statistics about repeat drunk driving offenders show that although police are doing their job by arresting these drunk drivers, the legal system is failing at preventing these DUI offenders from getting behind the wheel again. There is no process in place to ensure that their driving privileges are kept suspended or revoked until there is certain proof of their sobriety or proof that they have undergone alcohol or drug abuse education. Increased use of alcohol ignition interlock systems, a technology that prevents inebriated drivers from operating a vehicle, can also help reduce catastrophic DUI accidents.
Drunk driving is a particularly important issue at this time when the holiday season has begun. This is a deadly time on our nation’s roadways. In 2007, nearly 1,500 people were killed in auto accidents involving a drunk driver from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. This is despite law enforcement’s efforts to crack down on DUI drivers with checkpoints and various other enforcement efforts.
This holiday season, please remember that alcohol and automobiles never mix. If you are caught drinking and driving, remember that not only will you face criminal charges if you cause an accident that injures or kills someone, but you will also be held civilly liable for the accident and injuries caused. Our firm is financially pursuing at least 50 drunk drivers who caused serious injury to our clients. I’m sure that these people have paid dearly for their negligence and poor judgment. It’s never worth getting behind the wheel drunk. Please drive safely this holiday season.