Everyone knows why DUI laws exist. Drivers who are impaired due to alcohol can be a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road. Police are trained to spot impaired drivers before they can cause injury to anyone. Looking at DUI data, however, can raise questions about the severity of DUI laws. According to centurycouncil.org, there were 23 DUI related fatalities in Maine in 2011 and only 1 fatality from an underage DUI accident. Conversely, there were 5,802 DUI arrests made that same year.
As a DUI attorney, one must wonder if these DUI laws are too strict, especially considering the fact that 70% of the DUI fatalities were due to what is considered a high BAC (.15% and greater). Preventing fatalities is a great thing, but all too often hard working people are charged with DUI for having a BAC slightly above the legal limit with no other indicators of impairment. It may make you question whether these statistics display the accuracy to which Maine police can efficiently spot and remove impaired drivers from the roads or if DUI fatalities are not as common as lawmakers would like us to believe.
While it is easy to see that the number of DUI arrests greatly outnumbered the number of DUI fatalities in 2011, when you consider the fact that this number has dropped drastically by over 60% in the past 10 years from 2001 to 2011, you may see proof that DUI laws are working at keeping our roads safe. Perhaps, large scale DUI arrests are the thing that drivers need to scare them straight. The truth of this matter may lie somewhere in the middle. Increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving along with some DUI enforcement may be the best way to keep our roads safe.