Editorial: Get a Cab
This weekend marked the official beginning of the summer season across the East End, giving businesses an economic boost, with arts and culture available at every turn, and a natural world in literal bloom — drawing visitors and second homeowners to our shores as warm weather arrives (theoretically, anyway).
Unfortunately, this holiday weekend — like many weekends in the summer — also brings with it a sharp increase in the number of Driving While Intoxicated arrests, highlighting a year-round issue across the state and country, but one that becomes all the more dangerous in a resort community during high season.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2016 there were 40,200 motor vehicle fatalities nationwide, a six percent increase over 2015, and the first time since 2007 that figure has reached over 40,000. While certainly not all of those fatalities are due to those driving while intoxicated, the reality is that distracted driving in general is on the rise with the availability of technology in our cars and in our hands.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, between 2003 and 2012, 3,752 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in New York State alone. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles most recent data — from 2014 — shows there were 7,849 police reported alcohol related accidents that year, which included 279 fatal crashes, 3,974 accidents that resulted in non-fatal injuries, and 3,605 that caused property damage. A total of 292 people died as a result of these accidents. Of 1,239 drug related crashes that year, 170 resulted in fatalities with 188 deaths.
The statistics are jarring, but not surprising for weekly readers of the police blotter. At the end of the day, a $60 cab ride or Uber is far more affordable than the legal fees one will incur as a result of a DWI, or worse, the lifelong guilt associated with harming, or even killing, a stranger or loved one as a result of carelessness that could have been avoided with a simple phone call.