Massachusetts Drunk Driving News
A recent incident in Boxboro, Massachusetts, with an allegedly illegal immigrant charged with a sixth offense for driving under the influence in Massachusetts, sparked much debate about drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts. Motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts are frequently caused by drunk drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of times that Americans drove drunk in 2010 was 112 million! 33% of all motor vehicle deaths are associated with alcohol impaired drivers. In 2009 there were 11,000 alcohol related motor vehicle deaths.
In Massachusetts, alcohol fatalities totaled 334 in 2009. This was down from over 400 alcohol related motor vehicle deaths over several years in the ’80s, there is clearly work to be done. While the Massachusetts highway accident rate makes it one of the safest states in the country, there is clearly still work to be done.
Driving under the influence, defined by national standards, is when driving with the blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater. The CDC found that 81% of drunk driving “episodes” involved men. While men aged 21 to 34, “young men” are only 11% of the adult population, they were responsible for a disproportionally large percentage of drunk driving: 32%. 85% of drinking and driving episodes were associated with folks who are binge drinkers. Binge drinking, that is those men that have five or more drinks, or women who have four or more drinks in a short period of time.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an organization dedicated to educating use about the seriousness of the issue of alcohol and driving, claims that one person dies every 50 minutes from a drunk driving crash; 10,839 people per year. In addition, one person every minute is injured from an alcohol related motor vehicle accident.
The good news is that the number of alcohol impaired driving is down by 30% according to the CDC.
Massachusetts drunk driving laws are serious. A first offense can include jail time of up to 30 months, fines up to $5,000, license suspension of one year, and can include a court approved treatment program. A second offense includes jail time from one to 30 months, fines up to $10,000, two years of license suspension, and an ignition interlock device. We represent victims of motor vehicle accidents, and not those accused of violating the driving laws. However, many of our clients who are victims of alcohol induced collisions, note that many perpetrators get the 24D disposition, enabling initial offenders to keep their license and take the rehabilitation class.
In the incident in Boxboro, the problem goes beyond the drunk driving laws. This is because the driver had already been convicted five times; two in Massachusetts, three in California. His breathalyzer test was 0.09%, which is presumed drunk. He had no license, so he was also charged with a suspended license, another criminal offense. He had no registration for the vehicle he was driving, so that charge was added too. He produced false identification to the police officer, which engendered another criminal charge; his identity was made by fingerprints over a national system. Finally, he was charged with operating a motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol.