ORIGINALLY POSTED: AUGUST 28, 2019
UPDATED: OCTOBER 27, 2021
Drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous things any driver can do and it puts other drivers in danger as well. In North Carolina, DWIs have dropped significantly over the past few years and that's good news for anyone who drives in the state. Since 2014, DWI arrests are down an amazing 30 percent across North Carolina, but there is some debate as to exactly why.
Here's a breakdown of the steady decline in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County showing DWI arrests from 2014 to 2018:
2014 — 2811
2015 — 2231
2016 — 1739
2017 — 1623
2018 — 1415
Although fewer DWI arrests should equate to safer conditions for all North Carolina motorists, some reports show that the number of fatal crashes in Charlotte involving alcohol has actually increased. Reports like these cause concerns that the decline in DWI arrests in the state may not be attributed to fewer drivers drinking and driving as much as it would appear. From the frustration of numerous court dates to the lack of manpower, there are concerns that the decline of DWI arrests may also be due to fewer traffic stops for the violation.
Thankfully, the uptick of fatal crashes due to alcohol is showing signs of slowing in 2019. According to the North Carolina Highway Safety Plan Report for 2020: In 2019, there were 323 fatalities in crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or above, a 23% decrease from the 421 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018.
Other Factors That Play a Role in the Decline of DWI Arrests
While several factors play a role in the decline of DWI arrests, including anti-drunk driving campaigns, different law enforcement tactics, and possibly fewer law enforcement personnel, the decline also coincides with the increase of ride-sharing services across the state.
Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber have certainly changed the habits of Charlotte residents and others across the state. More and more people are turning to these ridesharing services specifically to avoid drinking and driving and the serious consequences of getting a DWI. As a result of recent events around the country, North Carolina recently introduced HB391, and barring any hurdles, the bill should go into effect July 1, 2020.
The bill would require ridesharing drivers to display their license tag numbers on a sign at the front of their vehicles. Ride requesters can match the numbers with the tag information they receive from the company via their app. If passed, the bill should result in a safer ridesharing experience and potentially increase the number of people using these types of services. It's easy to see that an increase in ridesharing use should continue to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.
You Can Play a Part in Reducing the Number of DWI Arrests and Accidents in North Carolina
No matter how many drunk driving campaigns are implemented or how safe and convenient ridesharing services are, the best way to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road comes down to each individual driver. If you are headed out for a night of fun and drinks in Charlotte, taking a rideshare to your destination or having a designated driver is a great first step for avoiding drinking and driving.
If you do find yourself making the mistake of drinking and driving and you get arrested, an experienced DWI attorney can help you minimize the impact of a conviction and may be able to have the case dismissed or charges reduced. Call The Law Offices of Jason H. Reece in Charlotte at 704-714-8888 or fill out this contact form for a free consultation.