Just How Often Do Drunk Drivers Hit Police Cars?

drunk-drivers-hit-police-carsThe answer is, “You’d be surprised.”

Over a million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence. A good number of those are arrested after a crash – so many that a fender-bender involving alcohol usually gets just a line or two in the police blotter section of the paper.

It’s a bigger story, though, when drunk drivers hit police cars. In Darlington, South Carolina a drunk driver did just that recently. Had it been any other vehicle, it would barely have been worth mentioning in a state where a person is injured or killed in DUI crash every 126 minutes.

The sheer number of police vehicles out there means that one of the army of drunk drivers out there will eventually connect with one of them. It happened near Tacoma recently as well.

And a drunk driver hit a patrol car in Portland before that.

In Mahwah, New Jersey an intoxicated man driving a Porsche slammed into a police cruiser.

Some of these happen on the road, but more often than you’d think  a police officer stops a DUI suspect by the side of the road and, while he or she is administering a sobriety test, another drunk driver hits the cruiser. It happened four times in 2 days last February.

Stories like that are just anecdotes worthy of a head shake. But things turn ugly when there’s an injury. In June a Maryland State Trooper was injured when a car driven by an inebriated driver rear-ended his police car.

And it can turn tragic. Maryland was the state in which Officer Noah Leotta was killed by a drunk driver in a similar situation back in 2015.

Public outrage at his senseless death led to Noah’s Law, which requires all drunk drivers to spend time with an ignition interlock, a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Maryland was the 26th state to pass an all-offender ignition interlock law. Now 30 states have similar laws.

Cops are out there, and sometimes they take the abuse from drunk drivers that might have hit the public. It’s not a freak occurrence at all when drunk drivers hit police cars: given the astonishing number of impaired drivers on the road, it’s inevitable.