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Tougher drunk driving laws are not the most effective deterrent

When a drunk driver causes a fatal accident or one that results in life-changing injuries, it often ignites demands for tougher drunk driving laws. However, recent studies indicate that tougher drunk driving laws may not be the best deterrent to drunk driving. A survey indicates that increasing the likelihood of arrest and apprehension of drunk drivers is more effective than tougher penalties in lowering drunk driving rates.

The report from the Research Society on Alcoholism is based on data collected in eight cities from drivers, police and lawyers who specialize in defending drunk drivers. They compared the threat of being arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) to harsher penalties for OWI.

The fear of being caught

Individual drivers said they would consume less alcohol if they faced a greater chance of being stopped by police and tested for drunk driving. The perceptions of stiffer DWI penalties did not impact whether they would be more or less likely to drive while intoxicated.

How do you increase the likelihood of apprehending drunk drivers? Two options the report offers are adding police patrols and increased use of sobriety checkpoints.

Alcohol-related fatalities

In 2014, there were approximately 10,000 fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents in which alcohol was involved. That’s accounts for about one-third of all car accident-related fatalities that year.

If you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated and involved in an accident that results in another person’s injury or death, you face felony charges, including a prison sentence of up to 15 years. It is critical to enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney who has experience in OWI cases with enhanced circumstances.

Attorney David G. Moore is a former prosecuting attorney who has dealt with thousands of Michigan drunk driving cases.

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