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Staying safe among drunk drivers

Nearly 11 percent of all statewide alcohol-related vehicular deaths in 2011 occurred in Miami-Dade County.
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    December 21, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Florida citizens look to their lawmakers and law enforcement to help them stay safe in all environments, including when on the road. Safe driving techniques and strong laws can help but there are still times when auto accidents can happen. Reckless drivers or distracted drivers, for example, can put others at risk on a daily basis. Drunk drivers are another cause of motor vehicle accidents in Florida that all drivers must be aware of.

How prevalent is the situation?

Understanding how severe drunk driving is in Florida can perhaps be best illustrated by looking at the numbers. Statistics for 2011 from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Association show that fatalities involving drivers with measured blood alcohol levels over the legal limit of 0.08 percent accounted for 30 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. A total of 2,398 people lost their lives on Florida roadways in 2011 and 716 of those deaths resulted from alcohol-related accidents.

Residents of Miami-Dade County should take particular note as their county led the way with the most number of traffic fatalities that year. Of the 242 people that died in accidents in the county that year, 75 of them were from accidents involving drunk drivers. That means that 10.47 percent of all statewide alcohol-related vehicular deaths in 2011 occurred in Miami-Dade County.

Florida's response to drunk drivers

The state of Florida has aggressive DUI laws and Miami-Dade County registered the second highest number of DUI convictions in 2010 according to state DMV records with a total of 2,274 convictions that year. Hillsborough County was in the number one spot with 3,256 convictions and Duval County was third with 2,222.

Further state records give a view as to where arrests or convictions are taking place, with information gathered from 2011 as follows:
- Statewide, 55,722 tickets were issued for drunk driving.
- Florida highway patrol officers issued 9,328 DUI tickets.
- Local police department officers issued 23,649 DUI tickets.
- Local sheriffs issued 21,868 DUI tickets.
- More than half of all arrests led to convictions with 33,625 people receiving DUI convictions.

Vigilance at the local level by police and sheriff departments accounted for more than 81 percent of all DUI arrests in 2011.

Blood alcohol levels in Florida

Florida's legal limits for alcohol in the blood follow that of many other states with the basic legal limit being 0.08 percent for drivers 21 and over and 0.02 for drivers under the age of 21. Commercial license holders must be below the 0.04 percent level in order to be legal.

A comprehensive approach

Individual defensive driving and safe habits coupled with the state laws and efforts of law enforcement to catch violators can all help to keep you safe on the road. If, however, these efforts are not enough and you are involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should seek legal assistance. Doing so is the best way to ensure that your rights will be fully protected.

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