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Boston’s Drunk Driving Arrests on Sharp Decline

Police officers in the city of Boston only made 241 drunk driving arrests in 2011. That’s less than one arrest a day and a significant decrease in the number of arrests from the previous year. According to The Boston Globe, that’s also a number that’s significantly lower than other cities of similar size.
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While many may see this as a good sign, officials are asking questions — Are officers targeting drivers aggressively enough?

Our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers understand that the number of arrests for intoxicated driving has dropped by about a third since 2009. Denver, which is a city that has a smaller population than Boston, made about 3,000 drunk driving arrests last year. Boston law enforcement officials say that public transportation is largely to thank — as intoxicated individuals can more easily use this form of transportation to get home. But safe driving advocates are saying it’s not that our roadways are getting safer — it’s that law enforcement is not doing nearly enough to combat the problem.

Officers in Boston say that the decline in arrest numbers only reflect the city itself, which has become a walk-friendly area with an abundance of public transportation. They say that is what has led to the decrease in the number of these arrests.

In the city of Boston, State Police have completed close to 1,500 OUI arrests since the beginning of 2010. Most of those arrests were the result of another driver’s report of erratic behavior behind the wheel.

But the arrests in Boston are much lower than the number in Washington, which is also a largely walkable metro area with a wide range of public transportation options.

“It does raise questions,” said Jan Withers of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). “We really look to law enforcement to reduce drunk driving, and it could be they just don’t have a focus on keeping the roads safe.”

Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant, says that drunk driving is now kind of a secondary enforcement priority. It’s considered more of a distraction from more important work than a problem to tackle head on.

Many officers complain of the time that goes into an OUI arrest, saying that one single arrest could last about 3 hours — and that’s a headache that no one wants.

Another problem is that officers in the city aren’t conducting a lot of checkpoints. Officials with the state conducted less than 75 checkpoints, which led to only 540 arrests.

But just because officers aren’t cracking down on drunk driving as we had hoped, that doesn’t mean that drunk driving comes without consequence. Getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol is still partnered with serious risks for an accident.

If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Boston Drunk Driver Busted for Third Offense, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, August 26, 2013

Massachusetts Man Arrested for Drunk Golf Carting, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, August 22, 2013