DUI Accident Scene

DUI Accidents in California

DUI Accident SceneCalifornians on or near the roads face a very serious threat from drivers impaired by alcohol. DUI accidents (including those classified as “DUI with injury” and “DUI with fatality”) in California over the past six years average about 18,600 per year. And in these accidents, an average of 1,190 people die and 25,300 are injured.

The percentage of DUI accidents that result in injury is unclear. Based on the above numbers, an average of 1.36 people are injured per DUI accident. This would indicate that the percentage of these accidents that result in injury is fairly high (though it is possible that multiple people were injured in many accidents, and none in others).

DUI accidents represented about 11.4% of all injury collisions in the state of California during this same time period. And of these 18,600 alcohol-related accidents, about 6.4% of them result in fatality (of either drivers, passengers, or pedestrians). With statistics like these, better solutions must be found that will lower the incidence of drunk driving (and the injuries and fatalities that inevitably result).

Could DUI checkpoints be an effective solution? Do they efficiently catch drunk drivers and get them off the road before they are involved in accidents or cause a DUI with injury or a DUI with fatality? One 2008 study looked at more than one million vehicles that passed through 1,469 sobriety checkpoints set up around California. The study reports that police arrested less than one-third of one percent of the drivers stopped at these checkpoints. This translates to around 3,300 arrests out of the 214,811 DUI arrests in California during that year.

Therefore, checkpoints garnered less than 2 percent of all DUI arrests in 2008. And while we should praise any effort that removes alcohol-impaired drivers from the road, perhaps there are better uses of the limited budgets allocated to our law enforcement officers. Many suggest that police focus their activities toward “roaming patrols”, where officers on the highways attempt to identify and stop drivers that appear to be impaired and to be potential threats to others (though this could ultimately be more dangerous).

While the statistics show a slight decreasing trend in the number of DUI arrests in California, the number is by no means approaching zero. Therefore, regarding DUI cases alone, bail bondsmen can be confident that they will continue to provide services in perpetuity to those incarcerated with DUI charges. The bail bondsman’s role in the criminal justice process is invaluable to defendants (even though they are often simply interested in getting out of jail). Bondsmen also help defendants charged with DUI to maintain their jobs and families while their legal problems are being worked out. This is often not possible while defendants remain in jail awaiting trial. And until society finds an effective solution for or deterrent to prevent people from driving while impaired by alcohol, the bail bondsman will remain an important player in the resolution of DUI cases.

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