Drunk driving accidents are terrible killers, in Massachusetts and across the country. In 2009, federal data showed that 10,839 people perished in drunk-driving crashes in the previous year. Nationally, that amounts to one crash every 50 minutes.
It's true that the numbers of drunk driving arrests are down somewhat in Massachusetts in recent years. The Registry of Motor Vehicles recently reported that there were a total of 18,834 operating under the influence (OUI) offenses in 2010. This is down from 17,894 just two years ago and 15,850 four years ago.
But fewer arrests does not necessarily mean less drunk driving, or make drunk driving accidents any less terrible when they happen. A state police spokesperson said the reason for the decrease in drunk driving arrests is probably because there are fewer police out on the road enforcing the law.
The decrease in the number of state troopers is substantial. There are over 500 fewer state troopers today than there were five years ago. In 2006, there were about 2,600 troopers. Today, however, there are only about 2,100.
It should also be pointed out that for every drunk driving arrest, there are many times when an offense occurs without the offender being caught. Research studies have estimated that the average drunk driver has driven drunk dozens of times before his or her first arrest.
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts drunk driving accident, or someone in your family has been injured or killed, contact an attorney at our firm. One of our experienced lawyers can examine your case and advise you of your legal options.
Source: "Massachusetts Reports Decline in Drunk Driving Deaths," Insurance Journal, 7-21-2011