Daytime DUIs are on the rise and the police have started cracking down. Stops for DUI at night are still more likely, but because of the increased number of drivers on the road during daytime hours, daytime offenses have the potential to cause much more damage and injure or kill more people.
During rush hour especially, an impaired driver can do serious damage, causing accidents that involve more cars or accidents with carpoolers in which multiple people could be injured or killed. According to a study by the American College of Emergency Physicians, ER visits are increasing; meaning the staffing needs of many hospitals is increasing faster than they can make new hires. Combine that with the fact that ERs tend to be slowest during daytime hours, meaning they'll have less staff on in general, and it's easy to see why the type of serious accident impaired drivers can cause during rush hour may stretch the closest hospital beyond their means, and slower treatment may lead to death or the worsening of long-term injuries.
To combat this, many states are starting to employ checkpoints, which the CDC says has the potential to prevent nearly 1 in 10 deaths from DUI-related accidents, to keep the road safer during the day too. Unfortunately, because most city highway patrols are also understaffed (and other traffic violations also occur during the day), they aren't as effective as they could otherwise be.
The Facts About Daytime DUI violations
Nighttime and weekend violations are obviously still more common, with over a third of all nighttime collisions resulting in fatalities attributed to drivers under the influence. But an alarming 9 percent of the same types of accidents during the day were the result of impaired drivers.
In fact, a study conducted by the Highway Safety Research Center and the University of North Carolina found that the number of alcohol-related collisions during the day has increased steadily since 2009 and continues to increase. Law enforcement officers are being trained to look for these dangerous drivers, either utilizing checkpoints or through the vigilance of individual officers, but they can't catch everyone.
Why Did Daytime DUIs Increase?
The UNC study was unable to identify a specific cause, however, there are theories. Unlike nighttime and weekend offenders, these impaired drivers aren't being found near common nightlife destinations like bars and clubs. While some of these locations may very well sell alcohol during the day, few people are usually drinking there during those hours. One theory is that the economic downturn resulted in more unemployed individuals being home during the day. However, anecdotal evidence from officers indicates the impairment is often the result of non-alcoholic controlled substances — including prescription medication or OTC drugs.
Daytime Offenses A Growing Concern
While nighttime offenses are still the majority of all DUI-related citations and accidents, even a minor increase in daytime is concerning due to the numbers of people on the road during the day. People commuting to work, children on their way to school and pedestrians are all at risk. There have even been incidents in which an impaired driver plowed into occupied houses or buildings. The good news is, it's easier for trained officers to recognize the signs of impaired driving during daylight hours.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a driver who was impaired during any time of day, it's best to seek the assistance of legal counsel as soon as possible, even if criminal charges are being filed. If you're in the Kissimmee, Florida, area, contact the experienced DUI-related car accident lawyers at Draper Law Offices for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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