As a drunk driving defense attorney located in the Birmingham, Alabama, area I have much experience with DUI arrests, as well as understanding the impact of a drunk driving conviction on people's lives. So it was with much relief that I read about a reduction in DUI arrests over the last Labor Day holiday versus the year before.
As a fellow motorist, I am pleased to know that rates of drunken driving have dropped, but as a DUI defense lawyer I do not see this as an end to unjustified drunk driving stops, arrests and summonses. From my extensive work in this area, I know that a percentage of drunk driving arrests do not hold up in court. This is why I fight hard for every client I represent.
This latest drop in Labor Day DUI arrests may be attributable to the public's awareness that local and state police agencies are constantly on the lookout for DUI violations and associated traffic offenses. According to the news, 25 DUI arrests were made during this past Labor Day holiday, which compares favorably to the 39 arrests made in 2008. This is a 35-percent decrease year over year.
In case you're thinking this is due to less driving or poor economic conditions, it is important to note that during that same weekend police logged a 55-percent increase in seat belt violations; a 48-percent increase in speeding citations; 66-percent more citations for operating a vehicle without proper insurance; and two-fold increase in citations given out for driving without a license.
According to the news article, police officers around Alabama racked up 1,368 hours during the recent Labor Day campaign and made nearly 3,600 “contacts” with motorists. Don Watkins, program coordinator for the North Alabama Highway Safety Office program coordinator, said that they didn't have as much money last year to provide to police departments, so they only had 900 hours. “It stands to reason the more money for overtime, the more hours can be spent on the streets working traffic. That adds up to more contacts, which usually means more citations,” Watkins said.
Statistics indicate traffic campaigns are working, TimesDaily.com, October 18, 2009