February 22, 2015

More Georgians refusing sobriety tests

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excersize your rights to keep silentBy Jessica Towne

The number of people refusing the sobriety test in Georgia doubled, from 5,608 in 2008 to 11,480 in 2013.

The Georgia Health News service recently published an article that manged to turn this fact into the basis for calling for more DUI convictions. You see, the State of Georgia collects lots of tax money to fund various projects when someone is convicted of DUI. And MADD wants us to believe that DUI convictions are down because drivers are taking advantage of the legal system, when in fact, some drivers are exercising their constitutional and statutorily granted rights. MADD and Georgia prosecutors  think the conviction rate is down because more drivers are exercising their right to refuse a breath or blood test.

Perhaps more drivers are aware that they don't have to take field sobriety tests alongside the road when they're asked to step out of their cars those tests are voluntary. Most times, the evidence a driver "volunteers" is what gets one arrested, breath test or no breath test. 

I think the rest of the statistics in that article leave a lot of unanswered questions:

How many people were arrested for DUI in 2008, and how many in 2013?Of those arrested, how many were found to be unlawfully stopped?Of those arrested, how many were found to be unlawfully arrested?Of those arrested, how many were found not guilty after trial?

I understand that drunk drivers account for some accidents resulting in injuries and deaths on Georgia highways. But most DUI arrests do not involve crashes.  MADD and the other agencies that lobby legislative bodies should answer these questions before they decide that more and more of us ought to be convicted of DUI. Have they even considered that perhaps drivers are getting the message?  Maybe we simply don't drink and drive as much we used to. Did that statistical analysis consider that we instead call cabs, we designate drivers who stay sober, we use Uber and Lyft, and we don't let our friends drink and drive?

Statisticians, I'm all ears. 


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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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