You would think that during quarantine, drunk driving statistics would be down all over the United States, because people weren’t able to go to the bar. And in some parts of the country, you’d be right. California, for example, saw a significant decline in the number of DUI arrests during the Covid19 lockdown. But that certainly wasn’t the case in every state. In Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida, there’s been an uptick in drunk driving incidents.
Fatal drunk driving crashes were down in Michigan
Whether from drunk driving, or from other factors, the number of fatal car crashes in Michigan was down quite a bit during quarantine. Preliminary statistics from the Michigan State Police showed that there were 67 car crash deaths in March 2019, compared to the 22 fatal car crashes that took place in March 2020. In fact, car crashes in general for the month of March were only 11,069, compared to 23,390 from the previous year. Although interestingly, not every part of Michigan saw that reduction. Detroit, for example, actually saw an increase in the number of fatal car crashes during the quarantine according to our Michigan State Police. .
But fatal car crash rates are actually up!
Unfortunately, while the number of fatal car crashes is definitely down here in the Great Lakes state, the numbers aren’t looking so good for crash rates. And that applies to cities all over the U.S., not just Michigan cities like Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. As it turns out, the rate of car crashes is up, along with the injury and fatality rates for both drivers and vulnerable users. Why is that? Experts say it’s because drivers were more reckless during the pandemic. With fewer cars on the roads, people feel emboldened to drive faster, and speed is the number one predictor of crash severity.
Does alcohol play into this problem?
According to market research firm Nielsen, weekly retail sales of alcohol jumped 25 to 55% during the quarantine. Spirits like Tequila, gin, and pre-mixed cocktails led the way with sales up a staggering 75%, followed by wine, which saw a 66% increase in sales from last year, and beer coming in at a 42% increase. People weren’t able to go out or meet up with friends, so they took to drinking at home. In fact, surveys show that a lot of people admitted to day drinking during the quarantine, with many even saying they had started drinking during their work-at-home hours. So it seems safe to assume that increased alcohol consumption may be a factor here.
Now that we’re opening back up, what’s next for Michigan?
Now that quarantine is over, what does the future hold with regard to our drunk driving numbers in Michigan? Are we likely to see an uptick in the number of DUI arrests and fatal drunk driving crashes, as people head back out to the bars and restaurants after months of drinking at home? Or has the break from drunk driving arrests and deaths been enough to restructure people’s awareness about drinking and driving moving forward? The answer? No one knows. Only time will tell what the future of DUIs look like in a post-quarantine world.
Stay safe, and make the right choices about your legal help in the future.
If we had our say, we’d make sure that no one ever got arrested for drunk driving, or died in a fatal drunk driving crash ever again. However, the reality is that we don’t get to make that decision on behalf of others. What we can do, though, is make sure that if you make a mistake and get busted for a DUI, you can get the best possible legal defense available in Michigan’s lower peninsula. Our skilled DUI defense attorneys have decades of experience helping people from all walks of life fight drunk driving charges, and we can help you too.
Call 866 766 5245 ( 866 7NoJail) today to speak to a top drunk driving defense attorney.