Drunk Drivers are being targeted by local law enforcement in an effort to reduce the number of serious and often fatal crashes they cause on Southwest Florida roads.
Eighteen people were arrested by Lee County deputies for Driving Under the Influence during the second week of September, the sheriff’s office reported. The following week, Lee County deputies arrested 25 people for drunk driving.
“In 37 years of practicing law, some of the most tragic cases we have taken the responsibility of representing have been caused by the careless, senseless and negligent acts of a drunk driver,” said Bruce L. Scheiner, founder and senior attorney at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers.
Last year, 1,099 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Florida – making drinking and driving a cause of about one-third of the state’s 3,365 road deaths. Another 10,439 motorists were injured by alcohol-related crashes on Florida roads.
The number of area crashes caused by alcohol remained staggering in 2006: 654 in Lee County; 372 in Collier; 211 in Charlotte; 457 in Sarasota.
“It’s obviously a problem that, unfortunately, is not going away,” said Brenda Gellinger, who works with DUI victims at the sheriff’s office and with the local Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Gellinger noted those 18 were arrested by deputies, while other local law enforcement agencies, including Cape Coral and Fort Myers police as well as the Florida Highway Patrol, are also picking up enforcement.
“Law enforcement all over Lee County is picking up the pace and fighting this problem,” she said.
MADD also started a pilot program in Sarasota over the Labor Day weekend, putting volunteers on the street to assist law enforcement in the hunt for Drunk Drivers.
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner has been representing people who have been injured or killed by drunk drivers for four decades and has offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, Venice and Sebring.