Way to Drive Drunk in Virginia: Hit the Police Chief!

drunk drivers do unbelievable thingsHow many drunk drivers escape detection every day? It’s a good question.  Surveys have put the number at one in 60 vehicles during the day, and one in 12 at night. Surveys, though, vary widely.

The journal Injury Prevention found that your probably of arrest while driving under the influence was about one in 200. That’s pretty startling.

That means that on those other 199 trips, anything could happen.

  • You could get home safely.
  • You could run over a pedestrian.
  • You could crash your car and injure someone.
  • You could hit a parked car, a mailbox, or a fence.
  • You could rear-end the chief of police.

The odds of the last one happening are, it’s safe to say, substantially longer than one in 200. It probably hasn’t happened often. But it happened in Virginia recently.

Fairfax County police chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. was driving last week when his cruiser was rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver. The driver, Christie Edgar, was charged with DWI.

It was a bad thing to happen to Chief Roessler, who didn’t deserve the injury. It was probably a good thing to happen to the woman who hit him. That’s because when a person is arrested for drunk driving (whether at a collision or after being pulled over by a police officer) that is rarely a person’s first time driving drunk – more like a person’s 80th time. That figure is arrived at by dividing the number of annual DWI arrests – about 1.5 million – by the number of self-reported annual episodes of alcohol-impaired driving: about 121 million.

Virginia requires ignition interlocks – devices which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking – for all DWI offenders. Therefore, Chief Roessler is unlikely to suffer the same fate from the same person for a while. Meanwhile, we wish him a speedy recovery and happy holidays.

And we remind you all to be careful out there.  A lot of drunk drivers missed the chief’s police cruiser that night. They’ll be out again tomorrow night. And the night after that. So please drive carefully