With the holidays upon us, I wanted to follow up on my last update and provide more information on how we can keep our roads safer. It takes a team effort to work on the impaired driving problem in Jackson County.
Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) is a completely preventable crime. We have many options these days for transportation when going out and having drinks – taxis, Uber, limos are easy to come by. The most overlooked resource may be the most obvious: friends and family.
Having been involved with hundreds of DUII investigations and arrests, I know that many people call a friend or family member to pick them up from the jail or police station after a DUII arrest. I would venture to say everyone involved would rather see that call come before an arrest can even occur. The costs of legal fees, fines and insurance premiums can be daunting and far more impactful than paying for a ride. And that’s the best case scenario to a DUII arrest. As we all know, DUII crashes often have deadly consequences – a tragic scenario we want to avoid.
This year we have been considerably better at finding impaired drivers on the roadways; we have already arrested 50 more offenders in 2016 than we did in all of last year. One could say there are simply more impaired drivers out there, but I believe the increase in arrests is probably due to an increase in our staffing. Deputies finally have a little time on their hands to do some proactive policing. We even have two traffic deputies focusing specifically on impaired and distracted driving.
Truly reducing DUII means putting the focus on prevention. Please use good judgement this holiday season and plan ahead when consuming alcoholic beverages. Do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Remember, there are many options available to get you home safely. Let’s work together to keep our roads safe and tragedy free.