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Michigan reports dramatic drop in DUI crashes

As many Michigan drivers know, law enforcement officials across the state take drunk driving very seriously. A recent report about DUI-related car accidents may be further indication that police efforts to combat driving while intoxicated are stronger than ever.

Between 2001 and 2010, alcohol-related crashes in which someone was injured dropped by 38 percent, according to audit information. Fatal accidents in which alcohol was a contributing factor also dropped dramatically. Wayne County's 10-year decrease was even greater, at 42 percent.

While overall numbers may have declined, many people likely expected the recent holiday season to show a spike in arrests and accidents. However, police have reported the opposite, saying they've seen fewer alcohol-related crashes on the major winter holidays -- Christmas and New Year's -- as well as on the Fourth of July.

The National Highway Safety Administration indicated that Michigan is not the only state recording declines in DUI crashes. In fact, accident numbers are down across the nation.

While a drop in numbers can be attributed to many things, there is no doubt that one is increased DUI patrols. Police across Michigan know how to spot even the smallest signs that a driver may be intoxicated. However, it is important to remember that just because a person is accused of drunk driving, does not mean he or she is guilty.

There are many factors involved in a DUI case, and it's important than everyone facing drunk driving charges understand their rights. A breath test machine may have been improperly calibrated or a field sobriety test may have been administered incorrectly. If either of these is found to be true, the evidence could be thrown out. Strong defenses can be built to challenge DUI charges.

Source: MLive.com, "Alcohol-related car crashes, fatalities plummet in Michigan," Ashley C. Woods, Dec. 26, 2011

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