Decreasing DUI Factors
There were 5,125 alcohol-involved crashes in Florida in 2017 (latest data available). Of those, there were 350 drunk driving fatalities compared to 417 in 2016. a 16% decrease. Not unexpectedly, the largest number of drunk driving fatalities were in the 25-29 age group with the 55-59 age group coming in second with 26 fatalities in 2017. Unfortunately, drunk driving is still the top cause of fatal traffic accidents in Florida, at 26%, so there is still work to be done to bring those numbers down.
To add to our challenges, many drivers are impaired not by alcohol but by drugs, including marijuana or opiod abuse which is out of control in the U.S. Distracted driving, largely due to using cell phones while driving is still another problem but is not part of our foundation’s mission
Factors Affecting Decreasing DUIs
There’s always a story behind the statistics. Law enforcement officials attribute the decrease in DUI accidents to a number of factors, including:
Ridesharing – People in larger cities – particularly younger individuals drive less in general using ride sharing or public transportation to get around, especially at night.
Public Education – The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and the Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaigns strive to educate people about drunk driving and the hazards it poses. Campaigns go out on social media, on billboards, in print, and anywhere authorities can get the message out. Designated drivers can also get special benefits at local eateries such as free non-alcoholic drinks.
Stronger Enforcement – Many cities and counties have special police units to prevent impaired driving and use both roving patrols, roadblocks and roadside DUI tests to identify and arrest those who are driving under the influence. The judicial system is also taking a stronger stance with those charged with impaired driving.
Ignition Interlocks – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants to eliminate drunk driving altogether by forcing drivers to install ignition interlocks if they have been convicted of DUI.
The IID is an in-car breathalyzer that hooks into your car’s ignition/starter system. The handheld device senses alcohol on your breath, or the lack of alcohol. Each time you blow into the device, it communicates your breath alcohol content (BAC) to your car’s ignition system. If the device doesn’t detect any alcohol, you are able to start the car as you normally would. If the device detects even the smallest amount of alcohol on your breath, the ECU prevents you from starting the car.
Currently, 30 states require ignition interlock devices for all DUI convictions, and MADD statistics on IIDs, and maintains that they have stopped more than 2 million drunk driving attempts in the United States in the last 10 years. 68,236 of those were in Florida alone.