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Do Super Drunk Driving Laws Reduce Drunk Driving?

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Michigan's super drunk driving laws were enacted to enhance the criminal penalties and sentencing guidelines for drivers who operate motor vehicles with a high blood alcohol content (BAC). Michigan lawmakers believed that the passage of the super drunk driving laws would help reduce the number of individuals consuming alcohol and driving by the enhancement in sentencing, court fees, and fines that would result therein. So, does Michigan's super drunk driving law actually reduce the occurrence of people driving drunk?

Well, Anne Readett, spokeswoman for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, stated the following:

It's been my experience that when laws change, people will change their behavior. There are people who will do one of two things. One will take a cab or call someone to get a ride, and some people will drink less.

Anti-drunk driving organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, claim that enhanced penalties work. For instance, New Mexico had a 20 percent reduction in alcohol-related crashes since its enhanced drunk driving law was passed in 2005.

In Michigan, since the super drunk driving laws went into effect, almost 3,000 super drunk drivers, if not more, have been taken off the road. For instance, six drivers a day on average throughout 2012 were convicted according to Michigan Secretary of State license suspension records. The Lansing State Journal reported that a chief aim of the law is to reduce the roughly 45,000 drunk driving arrests in Michigan each year. Nevertheless, opponents of the laws believe that the enhanced penalties do not deter hard-core, repeat offenders.

In addition to enhancing the penalties and sentencing to deter super drunk drivers, studies show that lower BAC limits also help reduce alcohol related fatal crashes.

I will provide follow-up information as more statistics regarding the effectiveness of super drunk driving laws in Michigan is released. In the meantime, here is a complete list of all the states that currently administer enhanced sentencing and penalties for high blood-alcohol-content drunk driving convictions.

If you have been arrested and charged under the super drunk law in Washtenaw County, contact Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Stacey Washington to help you navigate through this difficult situation in your life. Stacey Washington has helped a number of clients mitigate any long-term consequences of OWIs.

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