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Drunk driving claimed more than two dozen lives every day in 2020

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Criminal Law

Drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts and around the country kill an average of 32 road users every day and cost the economy more than $120 billion each year. Police officers in the United States arrest about a million motorists each year for driving while under the influence, but studies suggest that most drunk drivers are not caught. After scrutinizing the results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, officials determined that about 18.5 million Americans drove under the influence of alcohol in 2020, and more than 14 million operated motor vehicles while impaired by drugs.

The legal driving limit

In all states except Utah, motorists with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08% or higher can be charged with drunk driving. In most other developed countries, the legal driving limit is a BAC of 0.05%. When Utah reduced its drunk driving threshold from 0.08% to 0.05%, the number of impaired driving accidents and the fatality rate per mile traveled both fell. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1,790 lives would be saved each year if the rest of the country followed Utah’s example.

Drunk driving statistics in Massachusetts

Drunk driving fatalities in Massachusetts dropped by 13% to 98 in 2020, but impaired driving fatalities per vehicle mile traveled rose by 6% to 0.18. Police departments in the Bay State initiated more than 20,000 traffic stops in 2020 that led to almost 6,000 drunk driving arrests, and a further 103 motorists were taken into custody at 12 sobriety checkpoints.

Avoiding drunk driving charges

Aggressive law enforcement is one of the main reasons why drunk driving deaths fell in Massachusetts in 2020. If you want to avoid a DUI charge, you should appoint a designated driver, use a taxi or ride-sharing company or take public transportation if you plan to consume alcohol at a restaurant, bar or ball park. The penalties for DUI are harsh in Massachusetts, and sobriety checkpoints are permitted there.