Is Boston Slacking on Making Arrests for DUI?

According to a study recently released by ProjectKnow, Massachusetts has the fifth lowest rate of arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) in the United States. While the national average is over 37 DUI arrests per 10,000 drivers, in Massachusetts, the number is just under 17. The state with the next lowest number in New England is New Hampshire, which has over 28 arrests per 10,000 drivers.

Perhaps even more alarming is the arrest rate in Boston when compared to other major metropolitan cities across the country. In a city with a population approaching 646,000 – nearly a tenth of the entire population of Massachusetts – police made just 257 DUI arrests in all of 2013. 2012 saw a fairly similar number (254), and according to the latest data available, the number appears to have held steady in 2014. However, DUI arrest numbers in Boston are down a third since 2009.

What is Behind the Numbers?

When pressed for a reason, a representative of the Boston Police cited the city’s walkability and easily-accessible public transportation. However, as noted in the ProjectKnow study, Washington D.C. – which has similar features and a comparable population – saw 1,633 DUI arrests in 2012. Denver is another walkable city with around 650,000 residents, and its police have been making over 1,000 DUI arrests each year.

In a more candid statement, a former Boston police lieutenant was quoted as saying that drunk driving, “never has been a priority.” He went on to say, “It’s not even on [the police department’s] radar.”

The Risks of a Lenient Stance on Drunk Driving

Whatever the reason, it is clear that a lenient stance on drunk driving would put drivers, passengers and pedestrians at increased risk for serious and fatal injuries.

In 2013, there were 10,076 drunk-driving related fatalities in the United States. According to MADD, 118 of these fatalities occurred in Massachusetts. While that represents just one percent of all drunk-driving related deaths, Massachusetts has just 0.2 percent of the country’s population. That means that, compared to residents of other states, Massachusetts residents are five times more likely to be killed in a fatal DUI accident.

In addition, approximately 36 percent of all traffic deaths in Massachusetts in 2013 were caused by drunk drivers. Only eight states had higher rates.

Areas of Boston with the Highest Rates of DUI Arrests

Focusing again on Boston, the areas with the most drunk driving arrests from 2011 to 2014 were Downtown, East Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester. This is not altogether surprising – since Downtown is home to TD Garden and numerous popular bars and restaurants, and Roxbury and Dorchester have some of the highest overall crime rates in the city.

Across the entire city, but in these areas in particular, drivers and pedestrians need to be especially wary of alcohol-impaired individuals getting behind the wheel.

What to Do if You are Injured by a Drunk Driver

If you are injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should seek medical attention right away and then speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal DUI accident, you will want to talk to a lawyer promptly as well.

While the statute of limitations gives you three years to file a claim, you do not want to wait nearly this long to seek recovery for your losses. Evidence needs to be preserved, and there are important steps you need to take to maximize your chances of a full financial recovery. As a result, the sooner you take action, the better. An experienced attorney will be able to take the reins and fight for maximum value for your physical injuries, emotional distress, and other damages.

Contact Attorney John J. Sheehan for More Information

Attorney John J. Sheehan is a Boston native with more than two decades of legal experience. He has recovered millions of dollars for victims in cases involving vehicle collisions and other accidents. To discuss your DUI-related injuries or loss, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at 877-762-9510 or contact us online today.