Public perception of the dangers of drunk driving has mostly trended in the right direction for the last four decades. Since MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) was founded in 1980, outreach by educators, experts, and law enforcement has slowly lowered the rate at which people drive while under the influence. Drunk driving education takes place in most high schools, targeting students who are not yet even old enough to drive to make it clear to them how unsafe this behavior is.
The hope was always that dangerous actions such as driving while intoxicated would be systemically eradicated. In addition to education, police began to set up sobriety checkpoints, particularly on holidays such as New Year’s Eve that are commonly associated with public drinking. These checkpoints were successful, resulting in thousands of arrests. These checkpoints were also designed as a deterrent, making it clear that anyone who drove drunk would get caught, rather than relying on police pulling over only those drivers exhibiting an inability to operate a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately, the deterrent effect might have reached its limit. In some jurisdictions, the number of people arrested for drunk driving increased year over year on New Year’s Eve. In California, drunk driving arrests were up 22 percent, and New Year’s fatalities associated with driving under the influence increased by nearly 40 percent. Despite all the education that has taken place, people are still choosing to put the safety of others at risk.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver, holding that driver accountable is important. Too many people think they can drive intoxicated and never suffer the consequences. Please, retain an experienced attorney to make it clear to the person who hurt you that it is never acceptable to put others at risk.