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Contradicting Reports Unveiled about Intoxicated Drivers and Drunk Driving Accidents in Massachusetts

The Boston Herald has reported that officers in Massachusetts have seen a significant decrease in the number of drunk driving busts within the last 5 years, according to recently released statistics from the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

That doesn’t mean there are less drunk drivers on our roadways or that were seeing less drunk driving accidents in Boston or elsewhere. In fact, another recent Herald report, released around the same time, says that Massachusetts also reported an increase in the number of operating under the influence arrests.
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According to one set of RMV calculations, OUI offenses totaled 14,834 in 2010. This number is reportedly down from 17,804 in 2008 and down from 15,850 in 2006. These numbers varying significantly from the numbers the Herald cited in a story published earlier based on statistics from the RMV’s Merit Rating Board. These statistics are cataloged motor vehicle violations and that are sorted by the specific type of offense.

Our Boston drunk driving accident attorneys would like to point out that the initial story read, “Numbers for the first quarter of 2011, 2,036 arrests, suggest the state could top 8,000 drunken-driving arrests this year, for a nearly 12 percent increase over last year, and a 22 percent jump since 2006.” An RMV spokesman says that those numbers are inaccurate. Either way, drivers need to be extremely cautious of intoxicated drivers on our roadways as accidents with these motorists can oftentimes turn deadly.

According to an RMV spokesman, the statistics that illustrate a decreased in the number of busts can only list specific categories of OUIs. In fact, the largest number of uncounted OUI violations came from cases in which the offender was sentenced in court to alcohol rehabilitation or treatment. Many of these cases are not reported in total findings of OUI busts.

“Our people can read it. It needs to come with instructions for everyone else,” said RMV spokesman Richard Nangle, apologizing for any confusion that may have resulted.

State police spokesman David Procopio says that a decrease in OUI violations would most likely mean that there are fewer police to patrol the roads — not fewer drunk drivers. Regardless, there is in fact still a significant number of intoxicated drivers plaguing our roadways.

The total number of state police officers in Massachusetts has decreased from 2,600 in 2006 to about 2,100 today. Less patrol means less busts, which ultimately leads the public to believe that our roadways are safer than they actually are.

“That said, even though our numbers are down, our will and determination to get drunks off the road is as strong as ever,” Procopio said. “We consider drunk-driving enforcement to be one of our most important priorities. The act of getting impaired and getting behind the wheel of a car shows just a complete disregard for human life.”

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a drunk driver in Massachusetts, contact the drunk driving accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:

Drunken-driving arrests decline in the Bay State, by John Zaremba, Boston Herald
Crackdown on OUIs, by John Zaremba, Boston Herald
More Blog Entries:

Quincy Drunk Driving Car Accident Kills One and Injures Two, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, July 16, 2011

Woman Rear-Ends Officer in her Fifth Drunk Driving Accident in Massachusetts, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, July 14, 2011

Ignition Interlock Devices May Not be Just for Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Much Longer, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011