Injuries and deaths resulting from people operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs are one of the most preventable tragedies in our society today. In Florida alone, 1,169 people were killed in 2008 due to alcohol-related traffic crashes, which was 42 percent of all accidents. Nationwide, more than 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2008, 31 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.
This is unacceptable. Although drinking and driving is a societal problem, law enforcement agencies are often the last line of defense when it comes to preventing the worst from happening. We, however, cannot do it alone. It is not possible to catch every driver under the influence who may be on the road at any given moment. The Florida Legislature has toughened DUI laws over the years, which has helped to reduce the number of first-time and repeat offenders. Cultural awareness of the problem has also helped. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have helped to spread the word about lives ended too soon due to someone’s decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office works with students in schools to understand the consequences of making bad decisions, including drinking and driving. … MORE