With the close of yet another Labor Day weekend, DUI enforcement patrols
were out in full force and we are once again reminded of the dangers of
driving under the influence of alcohol. This year, an Arizona task force
made national news headlines by reporting nearly 375 arrests for DUI over
the long weekend.
Unfortunately, these arrests are just further evidence that
drunk driving remains a prevalent issue across the US. On average, nearly 30 people
die each day from fatal motor-vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired
driver. In the state of Florida, 33,625 DUI convictions were recorded
at the close of 2011, 854 of which involved fatal accidents. While the
average number of DUI-related fatalities in Florida and across the US
has progressively declined over the past 20 years, efforts to prevent
DUIs and promote awareness must continue.
DUI Accident Statistics
Labor Day indicates an end to summer and serves as an early pre-cursor
to the holiday stretch. It also brings about the first of a series of
holiday-related spikes in DUI arrests and accidents. Halloween parties
bring an increase in alcohol consumption, followed by what many call “DUI
season” or the time between Thanksgiving eve and New Year’s Day.
- An average of about 570 traffic fatalities occur on US roadways over the
Thanksgiving holiday weekend each year, with about 36% of those deaths
related to alcohol.
- In 2011, there were 138 traffic fatalities involving drunk driving.
- Research shows that high-visibility enforcement, such as well-publicized
Labor-Day weekend DUI checkpoints, can reduce drunk-driving fatalities
by as much as 20%.
- Since 2008, at least 750 DUI-related traffic fatalities have occurred in
the State of Florida each year involving at least one driver with a BAC
of 0.08% or higher.
- Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in
about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often
used in combination with alcohol.
- According to MADD statistics, Florida experienced 716 alcohol-related traffic
fatalities so far in 2013.
- Florida has recorded a total of 108,853 3-time DUI offenders and 13,054
- 100% of DUI cases are preventable.
DUI Legal Consequences
If a driver is involved in a
motor-vehicle accident, he/she is likely to be at fault if his/her BAC is above 0.08%. That driver
can be held liable for the costs of any injuries that result from the
accident. If a fatality occurs, that driver can be found liable in a potential
wrongful death suit – in addition to any criminal and punitive consequences.
The legal BAC limit in Florida is 0.08% – a first offense DUI, including
costs of legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases, averages
about $8,000 over a 3-year period.
Breakdown of Florida Penalties for DUI (First Conviction)
- Fine – $250 to $500
- Community Service – 50 Hours
- Probation – Maximum of 1 Year
- Imprisonment – Maximum of 6 Months
- Imprisonment (with BAC of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle) –
Maximum of 9 months
- License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
- DUI School – 12 Hours
Repeat DUI offenses are taken very seriously, as these drivers are deemed
a serious threat to public safety and often require treatment for alcoholism.
In addition to potential jail sentences, repeat offenders may face:
- Second Conviction – Revocation for 5 years (hardship/limited operation
reinstatement after 1 year)
- Third Conviction – Third degree felony charge, up to $5,000 fine,
10-year license revocation.