Michigan DUI Statistics: Drop Continues for Alcohol-Related Incidents

by baronedefensefirm on August 5, 2010

The number of alcohol-related crashes, fatalities and arrests in Michigan continues to drop. But whether increased education and the public’s growing awareness are reasons why remains open for debate.

According to the 2009 Michigan Drunk Driving Audit, the decline is offset by an increase in crashes and injuries involving drugs. Last year, 83 additional injuries involving people with drugs in their system resulted in a total of 6,271 injuries. In 2008, there were 6,248 injuries from crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs.

One factor in the rise could be expanded drug testing requests by law enforcement after an arrest. Keep in mind, however, “drugs” includes prescription drugs. So the number of people who may find themselves in jeopardy of violating the law is significant.

Another factor to consider is fewer cops are on patrol (due to layoffs from declining tax revenue) and more people are drinking at home – instead of restaurants and bars – to save money.

If you’re a male behind the wheel in Michigan, you’re more than three times likely to be arrested for impaired driving. Of the 45,893 alcohol and drug-related driving arrests in 2009 (1,258 fewer than in 2008), 34,222 involved men. In addition, studies have shown about one-third of all DUI arrests are repeat offenders.

Last year, approximately 40 percent of the total fatal crashes in Michigan involved alcohol and/or drugs. The 351 deaths in 2009 were a decrease from 279 in 2008.

Michigan has experienced a decline in drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths since about 1995. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Michigan’s highest number of alcohol-related deaths was in 1984, with 897. In comparison, there were only 331 deaths in 2008. The percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities peaked in 1982 at 63 percent and dropped to 28 percent in 2007.

On a national level, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports you have about a 30 percent chance of being involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time during your life.

For 15- to 20-year-olds, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death. In 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 694 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were killed in a crash had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. That’s approximately 25 percent of all young drivers (ages 15-20) involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes.

From an insurance perspective, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation reports alcohol-related crashes account for an estimated 20 percent of Michigan’s auto insurance payments. Dropping that figure to 10 percent would result in a savings of $120 million in claims payments and lost adjustment expenses.

What you can expect in the future …

Since DUI is a user tax on alcohol, the government can reduce the legal limit again (which is coming) or increase patrols to make up for declines in revenue. When you take these factors into account and include the people taking prescription drugs, the number of drivers in violation of the law is only going to grow.


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Patrick T. Barone is the author on two books on DUI defense including the well respected two volume treatise Defending Drinking Drivers (James Publishing), and The DUI Book – A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding DUI Litigation in America. He is also the author of a monthly DUI defense column for the Criminal Defense Newsletter, published by Michigan’s State Appellate Defender’s Office. Mr. Barone is an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School where he teaches Drunk Driving Law and Practice. He is also on the faculty of the Criminal Defense Attorney’s of Michigan’s Trial Lawyer’s College where he provides trial skills training to Michigan’s criminal defense practitioners. Mr. Barone lectures nationally on various DUI defense topics, and he has appeared in newspapers, on television and on radio as a drunk driving defense expert. Mr. Barone has been certified as an instructor and practitioner of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and has also attended a 24-hour certification course at National Patent Analytical Corporation (the manufacturer of the DataMaster) and has thereby been deemed competent by the manufacturer to operate, perform essential diagnostic verifications and calibration checks on the DataMaster. Mr. Barone is a Sustaining Member of College for DUI Defense. Mr. Barone is the principal and founding member of The Barone Defense Firm, whose practice is limited exclusively to defending drinking drivers. The Firm is headquartered in Birmingham, Michigan.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Oscar J. Perry August 24, 2010 at 8:22 am

I would like to work with your organizations to bring the Save A Life Tour Alcohol Awareness and hi tech drunk driving simulation program to your communities.


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