A Virginia Beach man with a prior DUI conviction has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and DUI in an accident that killed a motorcyclist in Norfolk, the Virginian-Pilot reported recently.
The state DMV recorded 28,719 DUI convictions in 2012, an increase of more than 500 from the previous year. Although it’s possible that police are better at catching drunk drivers, the number of repeat offenders arrested is problematic.
DUI courts and ignition interlock devices can discourage people convicted of DUI from drinking and driving again. However, researchers point out that many people convicted of DUI have driven under the influence in the past without getting caught. Sometimes, law enforcement officers encounter a problem drinker or drug abuser only after he causes an accident.
This is the essential problem for the police—by the time they make a DUI arrest, the driver may have driven drunk or under the influence of drugs many times before.
For example, a man was arrested earlier this year in St. Louis on his ninth drunk-driving charge. The man had already been convicted 19 times for drunk driving or driving while his license was suspended or revoked.
Alcohol-related traffic collisions injured 5,861 people in Virginia 2012. That year, drunk driving crashes increased 7.25% from 2011. Although Virginia has tough DUI laws, it’s clear that some drivers are taking to the roads without thought for the health and safety of others.
Virginia is working to reduce drunk driving fatalities and injuries. In 2011, Mothers Against Drunk Driving lauded Virginia for standing strong against drunk driving. Virginia’s new ignition interlock law, for example, requires all first-time DUI offenders to blow into an alcohol detector before driving.