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How does Massachusetts fare with drunk driving laws?

Massachusetts has strict laws on the books for various criminal acts. Drunk driving is one. OUI penalties and laws are some of the toughest in the nation. Massachusetts ranked 11th overall based on 21 different metrics in a report.

The report put together information from the National Highway Safety Administration, Governors Highway Safety Administration and National Council of State Legislatures. It looked at laws, penalties and statistics for drunk driving arrests.

Why is this report significant?

Drunk driving is the leading cause of death on this nation's roads. It accounts for around 10,876 fatalities and 290,000 injuries annually. Daily, there are more than 300,000 drunk driving incidents.

Laws that set strict penalties for this criminal matter may make people think twice before driving when they are intoxicated. In Massachusetts, the penalties become harsher with each subsequent arrest. This is an attempt to curb the behavior as early as possible.

What sets Massachusetts apart from other states?

The penalties in this state vary depending on how many offenses the person has. On a first offense, a person may face no time in jail, a $500 fine, and a six-month driver's license suspension. A second is associated with 30 days in jail, a $600 fine, and a 12-month suspension. The third offense comes with 150 days of imprisonment, $1,000 fine, and an 18-month license suspension.

On top of these penalties, you also have to think about the collateral consequences. These can include things like an impaired social life because they don't drive to gatherings. The fines can cause a strain on the budget. Time in jail pulls you away from loved ones.

How does Massachusetts fare in fatalities and injuries?

Massachusetts has an average of 58 injuries and 1.7 fatalities related to OUI crashes per 100,000 people in the population. There are 176 arrests for drunk driving within that same population.

People who are heading out to a party or bar should set a plan for making it home safely. This can come from having a designated driver, taking public transit or using a rideshare program.

People who are facing drunk driving charges must understand the accusations against them. This can determine what options they have for a defense. Trying to plan the strategy can take time, so don't wait until the last minute.

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