DUIs are a national epidemic, and the state of Georgia is no exception. Curiously, DUI convictions in Georgia have been dropping dramatically over the past five years, according to state statistics. The State Department of Driver Services asserts that while there were 44,017 DUI convictions in 2008, there were just 32,514 in 2013. The cause of this dramatic drop, however, is up for debate. Here are a few possible reasons that convictions might be down:
More People Refuse Field Sobriety Test
The number of people refusing to take the field sobriety tests has doubled, from 5,608 people in 2008 to 11,480 in 2013. Without this piece of evidence, convictions are harder for prosecutors to get.
Fewer Police Patrolling
The economic crisis has hit governments hard, including Georgia. When budgets are cut, it affects the amount of law enforcement out patrolling. If fewer law enforcement members are patrolling at night, when DUI arrests most likely occur, then fewer people will be caught. This might account for the drop in convictions.
No Unified Court System
Georgia is not a unified court system state; thus, records are held at each individual county rather than in a centralized location. Furthermore, there is no statutory requirement for DUI data to be collected and maintained at a state database. Hence, any statistics gathered might not be telling the full story for the reason that the statistics might be incomplete.
Community Activists Call For Changes
Mothers Against Drunk Driving applauds Georgia’s DUI regulatory structure, giving it four out of five stars. The organization, however, calls for Georgia to require first-time DUI offenders to have an ignition locking system installed in their vehicles. Advocates cite the success in other states that have done this: they have had a significant drop in alcohol-related fatalities.