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Drunken driving arrests decrease
By Associated Press
Sunday, January 2, 2005

BOSTON -- The number of drunken driving arrests in Massachusetts has dropped nearly 30 percent since the mid-1990s, a decline that is both good news because it indicates greater public awareness of the dangers, and bad news because it indicates less enforcement by police, officials say.

Arraignments on drunken driving charges fell from 23,746 in 1993 to 16,808 in 2003, according to the State Office of the Commissioner of Probation. But between 1996 and 2004, the number of drivers asked to take Breathalyzer tests by state police dropped about 25 percent and the number of drunken driving deaths was up 13 percent from 1998 to 2003, the last six years for which figures were available.

Tougher drunken driving laws and increased media attention have helped make drunken driving socially unacceptable. Designated drivers are commonplace and bartenders are reluctant to serve the intoxicated. "The message is getting through," said Conrad Shultz, director of drinking programs at High Point Treatment Center in Plymouth.

Yet, at the same, time, traffic enforcement has slipped, officials said. Budget cuts have left fewer police patrolling the streets in many communities, and law enforcement's priorities have changed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Braintree Deputy Chief Kevin McHugh said his department is down from 86 patrolmen in the late 1990s to 63 today.

In Plympton, Chief Matthew M. Clancy said he often has one man on the road, while in past years he might have had two. "We have fewer cops expected to do more things because of 9/11," he said. "We're spread that much thinner."

There are as many drunken drivers these days as in the past, said Matt Shedd, president of the state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "There's no reason to believe there are significantly fewer drunk drivers," he said.

Public awareness programs have made social drinkers more responsible, but the hardcore drinkers are still on the roads, he said. Only tougher enforcement, including frequent driver checkpoints, can bring the numbers down, said Shedd, whose teenage daughter was killed by a drunken driver 14 years ago.

State law was stiffened in 2003 with the passage of the so-called "per se" law, which says that a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher is considered proof of driving under the influence for a driver 21 or older. Previously, a reading of 0.08 was considered only one piece of evidence. Now, a driver can be convicted with a lower reading, if evidence such as field sobriety testing points to the driver's guilt.

The holiday season is typically the worst time of the year for drunken driving deaths. About 45 percent of all fatalities during the Christmas and New Year's holidays nationally have involved an impaired driver, compared with 30 percent during the rest of December, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 410 people on average die nationally during each of the three-day Christmas and New Year's holidays, agency officials said.
 

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They should make it as easy as an operating after suspension incident, the BT should be like a certified and nothing else except a minor report should be filed. OUIs are longer than homicide reports.
 

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VOR";p="51370 said:
.........Not exactly rocket science to figure that out.............Streamline the arrest processing and odds are you'll see an increase in OUI arrests.
I couldn't agree more. Looking around at a few other states with their OUI procedures makes you wonder why we are still doing things the same old way in good ol' MA.
 

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A buddy of mine worked for VSP, down there they could detain you for OUI but had to bring you before a judge who listened the troopers observations then decided if an arrest warrant should be issued for the OUI. 9 times out of 10 the judge would find cause to issue the warrant and then trooper would place the detainee under arrest for OUI and complete the booking and paperwork.

And I thought we had a long process :roll: Well we do have a long process but at least it does not sound as back asswards as Virginia.
 

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I feel like oui arrests are down, because you do all that work, deal with the ****head at booking, and then have some liberal judge throw it all out
because then guy was to drunk to voluntarily submit to F.S.T.
 

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VOR";p="51370 said:
The amount of paperwork needed for an OUI arrest can be staggering - 10 years ago you could go out and get 2 or 3 per shift, you get one now and be ready to be chained to the report for the next 3-4 hours. Officers don't like being inundated with paperwork so the result is fewer arrests. Not exactly rocket science to figure that out.

Streamline the arrest processing and odds are you'll see an increase in OUI arrests.
Unfortunately, I think the courts are blind to how the process really goes on the police end of things, thus they make it more complicated with paperwork and reports, when it is as simple as the person being too hammered to drive their damn car...

The thing that amazes me the most is all the publicity about OUI's, education, millions of tax dollars spent on enforcement, but the courts then do not allow the jury to hear info such as the BT/FST refusal or past record because it is too prejudicial. That would let the jury see the "big picture" and make an educated decision. The defense attorneys can dress their client up and make them out to be an alter boy, but the A.D.A's have an uphill battle. It is an interesting system, thats for sure.

Whats even worse with "being chained to the report for the next 3-4 hours" is working in a small town where there are only two officers, or less in some towns. Talk about taking away what really needs to be done, getting back out on the road to do your job. :roll:
 

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OUI's are so technical and time consuming, just to see such a tangible percentage tossed
:uc:
Of course the RMV not issuing Uniform Citations to several agencies has little impact either
#-o
 

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As I have said before more almost twice as many people are killed by drunks then firearms. No one cares. :BM: I think they should add some more paperwork to OUIs. It is to the point now that I am the only one on my department that will do one. I did 3 between Christmas week and new years. The Drink you drive you lose grants are a total joke. 4 hours of easy Ot without shagging a single call. Out of 10 shifts that were available we had 1 OUI arrest.
 

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Yes there was a question in my last post. I was wondering if any agency draws blood samples to determine BAC. Thats what happens when you type at 0400 hours.
 

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I was wondering if any agency draws blood samples to determine BAC
You only do that if you have to take them to the hospital. You don't offer them blood tests at the station. The only test they are offered is the BT and nothing else. If they are under arrest and go to the hospital, you do the Form-A , offer them the blood test. If they refuse, you yank their license, go back to the station and use the BT machine for the Blood Refusal , same as a BT refusal. If they submit to a blood test, you don't yank their license. The Judge does after the results come back from MSP and you give them to DA.
 

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BlackOps";p="51381 said:
VOR";p="51370 said:
.........Not exactly rocket science to figure that out.............Streamline the arrest processing and odds are you'll see an increase in OUI arrests.
I couldn't agree more. Looking around at a few other states with their OUI procedures makes you wonder why we are still doing things the same old way in good ol' MA.
Exactly, 3-4 hours of bullshit paperwork all to get thrown out in court. Why? Gee it couldn't be due to the lawmakers and judges being the biggest drunks out there, could it??
 

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I love how FL does things down there. they offer.. Breath, Blood or Urine. If you refuse.... Blood it is, They will strap their asses down and drain away... cuts through all the bullsh#$ [-X
 

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paperwork!!! plus a nice guy like me doesnt enjoy screwing a average joe who made one bad decision for the rest of his life....thats a bad conviction to have...im from a small town so i see many people i know...i rather shake a finger at them and give them a ride home.
 

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RyanM4A1";p="52673 said:
thats a bad conviction to have....
If it's deserved then so be it, granted there are borderline OUI's out there that may get a ride home, but if they are without a doubt shattered they still get a ride just not the one they wanted.
 
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