The 2007 Drunk Driving Audit, which is an annual report compiled by the Michigan State Police in concert with Michigan Department of State and Michigan Department of Transportation documenting arrest, accident, injury, and fatality information from all Michigan counties, indicates there was a 13% drop in alcohol/drug related fatalities from 2006 to 2007 (440 to 382), which is a 10 year low. There were 49,867 alcohol/drug related driving arrests in 2007 which is 3,500 less than 2006.
Further, 47,267 of the 2007 arrests resulted in convictions of operating while intoxicated (OWI) or impaired driving, which is almost 95%. (see http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1586_1710-195921–,00.html ). Only, 776 convictions, less than 2%, were reduced to non-alcohol related offenses, such as Reckless Driving or Disorderly Person. (see page 485 of Audit). The remainder were dismissed or resulted in acquittals.
However, what the Audit fails to indicate clearly is the number of repeat offenders contained within this data. Therefore, despite reduction in arrests, the question arises whether the appropriate sentence has been ordered to help curb these numbers, or even whether there were intervening factors such as less police presence because of cut-backs. As to sentencing, there is a mixed ideology on this very sensitive issue. Is Jail appropriate? Is rehabilitation appropriate? Is a vehicle interlock (breathalyzer) appropriate? [Read more…]