As a criminal defense attorney, I handle a fair amount of DUI (driving under the influence) cases (known as OVI -Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs-here in Ohio). These defendants simply represent the people who got caught. The FBI statistics report that 1.2 million people were arrested for DUI in 2011. I can’t even fathom a guess as to how many people drive under the influence per every driver that gets arrested. Another 100, or 1,000?
Either way, the latest data suggests that there is an underreporting of the role alcohol plays in traffic deaths. Part of the problem is the delay in getting the coroners results in time before an official police report is filed. Some states don’t even list alcohol on death certificates.
It is interesting how readily our society accepts casual alcohol use. We see commercials on television that suggest alcohol use is fun and without negative effects. As parents, we drink in front of our kids, sometimes to excess, and simply tell them not to do what we have done. The whole relationship with drinking changed after prohibition. We went from thinking it was an evil substance to thinking it was the nectar of the Gods.
Admittedly, the majority of people who drink do not have negative consequences. But for those that do, it can be devastating. I implore people to be more conscious of their drinking and definitely think before they get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.