With Saint Patrick's Day just passed and the summer holidays on the horizon, it may be helpful to remind Tampa residents that drinking or doing drugs and then driving can turn an evening of fun in to a preventable tragedy.
According to statistics compiled by our state, there were a total of 402,385 motor vehicle crashes in 2017. In these accidents, 254,310 people had an injury that was significant enough to get reported. Additionally, 3,116 people died due to motor vehicle accidents in 2017.
These same statistics also show that drunk driving accidents continue to be a problem in Florida. Police determined after investigating that alcohol was involved in 5,125 of all accidents reported. While this might not seem disproportionate, what does stand out is that 374 accident-related fatalities, over 10 percent of all fatalities in 2017, were on account of accidents involving alcohol.
Additionally, while there were only 668 collisions that police concluded were the result of drugged driving, such collisions accounted for 338 deaths. A combination of drugs and alcohol was blamed for 355 collisions and 274 deaths.
What one can take from these statistics is that accidents involving drugs or alcohol, when they happen, tend to end with severe or even tragic results. Why this is may be for a number of reasons, but it only serves to reinforce that drunk and drugged driving is very dangerous and unacceptable behavior.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of law enforcement and others to prevent drunk driving, many motorists in and around Tampa continue to choose to get behind the wheel when drunk or drugged. While criminal penalties may be helpful in stopping such behavior, it may also be necessary for a victim to pursue their own financial justice.