The headline made this criminal defense lawyer who handles a ton of DUI defense in Morgantown pay attention: “An Average 2 People Arrested for DUI Per Night in Monongalia County.”
Two. Per. Night.
The rest of the read was fascinating, too. Police in Morgantown lamented that, despite the weather being so bad that drivers were largely off the roads, there were still 38 DUIs in the city by the end of January.
Also of interest: In 2011, police in Morgantown dealt with 127 DUI-related incidents. That number jumped to 304 in 2014 – and it keeps getting bigger.
It should be noted that if a driver is younger than 21 and gets pulled over for suspicion of DUI, they will be charged, even if their blood-alcohol content was less than .02 percent. That’s because the legal limit for those who are underage is just .02 percent.
I’d be willing to bet the high number of DUIs in Morgantown might be at least partly associated with West Virginia University’s proximity to the city.
I graduated from WVU myself, so I know first-hand that the party-school reputation is warranted, and news stories related to the alcohol-related death of a freshman late last year seem to indicate that it’s still a fitting descriptor.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I think we need to improve the type of education and information we give young people about the dangers of alcohol.
I’ve had clients who have gone through highway traffic safety classes tell me they were amazed at the alchol-related information presented in the class. Of particular interest to them? How alcohol is metabolized. So many are shocked at how long it will take their body to rid itself of the alcohol imbibed over a period of time.
I would hope that Morgantown, as well as West Virginia University officials continue to take strides in educating the public about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Because 304 DUIs in one year is way, way too many.