The number of drunk driving fatalities in Florida decreased in 2017, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Annual Report for 2017. Their records show that alcohol-related crashes, in general, decreased in 2017 compared to 2016. That includes drunk driving fatal crashes as well as injuries in drunk driving accidents.
There were 5,125 alcohol-involved crashes in Florida in 2017. Of those, there were 350 fatalities, compared to 417 drunk driving fatalities in 2016. That’s a 16.07% decrease in fatalities. Drunk driving related injuries decreased by a smaller percentage of 3.96%.
Not unexpectedly, the largest number of drunk driving fatalities were in the 25-29 age group with 31, with the 55-59 age group coming in second with 26 fatalities in 2017. Unfortunately, drunk driving is still the top cause of fatal traffic accidents in Florida, at 26%, so there is still work to be done to bring those numbers down.
A Decrease in DUI Accidents Due to Several Factors
There’s always a story behind the statistics. Law enforcement officials and Mothers Against Drunk Driving attribute the decrease in DUI accidents to a number of factors, including:
It’s hard to put a finger on the exact correlation, but many say the decrease in drunk driving accidents is related to the increased number of rideshare vehicles available for hire. This is especially true in the bigger metropolitan areas, like Miami-Dade. In 2017 DUI arrests were down an eye-popping 65% from just four years earlier. The increasing popularity of the ridesharing companies coincides with the drop in DUI arrests.
Education Around the Dangers of Drunk Driving
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and the Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaigns strive to educate people about drunk driving and the hazards it poses. Campaigns go out on social media, on billboards, in print, and anywhere authorities can get the message out. Designated drivers can also get special benefits at local eateries (free non-alcoholic drinks).
Fewer Millennials Are Driving
Younger people in Florida’s cities drive less in general and use public transportation or Uber and Lyft to get around, especially at night. Whether the easy availability of Uber or Lyft is causing younger people to drive less, or they are just inclined to drive less, to begin with, is something to be studied.
MADD Says That’s Not Enough of a Decrease in Drunk Driving
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants to eliminate drunk driving altogether. The state branch of the national organization is lobbying the Florida Legislature to mandate that any driver convicted of DUI be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle for a certain period of time, as they work to earn their full driving privileges back.
Currently, a first-time DUI offender only has to install an ignition interlock device in a small number of situations, including:
- If a judge orders it
- If a child was in the vehicle
- If the blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15 or above (The legal level is.08.)
Currently, 30 states require ignition interlock devices for all DUI convictions, and MADD wants Florida to join their ranks. MADD keeps track of statistics on IIDs, and maintains that they have stopped more than 2 million drunk driving attempts in the United States in the last 10 years. 68,236 of those were in Florida alone.
As of this writing, the Florida legislature has not changed the law to MADD’s satisfaction. In the meantime, the state does require mandatory ignition interlock device installation for all repeat DUI convictions in Florida.
Ignition Interlock Device Installation in Florida
ALCOLOCK has dozens of ignition interlock device installation locations in Florida. If you or a loved one has been convicted of DUI and you need to get an IID installed, check out our authorized vendors to find a location near you. The installation appointment will last about an hour, and that includes the actual device installation, and our technician training you in how to use the device and calibrating it to state specifications. Monthly maintenance visits generally take 20 minutes or less.
We’re a pioneer in the industry, and we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people successfully complete their restricted driving program. We offer affordable ignition interlock devices — installation is generally less than $100, and monthly maintenance costs break down to $2-3 a day. That’s less than a jolt of caffeine from Starbucks.