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DUI arrests have dropped in Georgia -- but not fatalities

The number of arrests in Georgia for driving under the influence has dropped by almost 50 percent since 2008. That amounts to nearly 50,000 fewer arrests. DUI arrests by the Atlanta Police Department (APD) have dropped by more than a quarter since 2015.

Unfortunately, the number of DUI-related fatalities in our state hasn't had a steady decline in that time. Georgia is among the states with the highest number of DUI fatalities.

So what's behind the drop in DUI arrests? One Georgia attorney who specializes in DUI defense points to "the lack of police on the street enforcing the laws." He contends that Atlanta officers have been reassigned from traffic enforcement to deal with the increase in violent crime.

An official with the APD acknowledges that "we're pulling them and pushing [officers] in different directions, and it's harder to stay focused just on one thing." He contends, however, that DUI enforcement is still important. "We've lost police officers to drunk drivers. So we understand the seriousness of it….The challenge, of course, is resources." The problem of resources is one echoed by a spokesman for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

This doesn't mean that people driving under the influence in Georgia don't risk being arrested. Of course, there is also the potential for serious or fatal injury to yourself or others. Fortunately, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular. Uber has drivers in every county in the state.

Tens of thousands of people throughout Georgia have the Uber and/or Lyft app on their phones. These services are particularly popular with younger people. The increase in people getting a ride home or back to the dorm after a night out is certainly at least one factor in the decline in DUI arrests.

With easy access to rideshare drivers who can give you a safe ride to and from a party, there's no reason to risk a DUI. For Georgia residents who are under the legal drinking age, a DUI could get them additional charges -- particularly if they are found in possession of alcohol. If you or your child is facing DUI charges, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance.

Source: WSB-TV Atlanta, "DUIs in Georgia drop nearly 50% ... one reason why might surprise you," Richard Belcher, accessed Jan. 04, 2018