It makes sense that driving a heavy vehicle after drinking heavily can be deadly. Participants of the 2003 National DUI Enforcement Symposium learned first-hand just how deadly such behavior really is. Amidst the wealth of information shared by keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey Michael, Director of the Impaired Driving and Occupant Restraint Division at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was the fact that in 2002, the largest increase in alcohol related crashes came from drivers of SUVs. Alcohol related crashes among this group increased by 11%. Additionally, Dr. Michael pointed out that in 87% of the alcohol related crashes, blood alcohol levels were higher than .08. Interestingly, the number of DUI fatalities increased in 2002, but injuries decreased. Because it was the third year in a row that DUI fatalities increased, Dr. Michael called on law enforcement officials to take a leadership role in reversing the trend. Northwestern University Center for Public Safety officials promised to make all of their resources available to assist in the effort.
"The Center is particularly pleased to serve as the focal point for a renewed interest in DUI," said Director Alexander Weiss, Ph.D. Dr. Weiss's statistical snapshot showed nationwide DUI arrests decreasing from a peak in the 1980s, and participants learned about successful law enforcement strategies from Tennessee, Washington, Illinois, Ohio and New York. They also learned strategies for effective testimony and they received a poignant reminder of who loses when motorists drive under the influence.
Several speakers had lost a brother, child or other relative to DUI. Former MADD President Millie Webb received a standing ovation after she told the heart-wrenching story of the loss of her two young children. Ms. Webb thanked everyone for their tireless efforts in keeping DUI offenders off the roads.
The consensus among participants was that DUI is an issue that cannot be ignored. "I've been getting ideas from other departments that we may implement," said Major Bryan Wauke, Honolulu Police Department. Wauke said he was especially interested in the school presentations offered by the Buffalo Grove, Illinois and Naperville, Illinois police departments.
NUCPS would like to extend a special thanks to the Century Council for its sponsorship. Because of the success of the initial conference, NUCPS plans to again host a DUI Conference.
|Alexander Weiss, Ph.D.||Director, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety|
|Jeffrey Michael Ed.D.||Director, Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection Division, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)|
|Susan Molinari||Chairman, Century Council|
|Law Enforcement Perspectives|
|Chief Ronal W. Serpas||Washington State Patrol|
|Lieutenant Thomas Kuroski||Traffic Safety & Training Unit, Chicago Police Department, Illinois|
|Sergeant Steve Husak||Buffalo Grove Police Department, Illinois|
|Kenneth Morckel||Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety|
|Inspector John A. Sassano||Commanding Officer, Highway Division, New York Police Department
|Sergeant James Bedell||Naperville Police Department, Illinois|
|Thomas E. Page||Drug Recognition Consultant, Los Angeles Police Department (Retired)|
|John V. Moulden||President, National Commission Against Drunk Driving|
|Ignition Interlock Devices|
|Jane Valenzia||Research Associate, Driver Safety Research - Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration|
|Roy E. Lucke||Director, Research & Development, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety
|Public Policy Perspectives|
|William P. Georges||Senior Vice President for Programs, Century Council|
|Millie I. Webb||Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)|
|Stephen Wallace||Chairman & CEO, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)|
|James H. Hedlund Ph.D.||Associate Administrator Traffic Safety Programs, NHTSA (Retired)|
|Michelle M. Fields||General Counsel, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety|
|Honorable Jeff Ford||Sixth Judicial Circuit, Urbana, Illinois|
|Paul Logli||State Attorney, Winnebago County, Illinois|
|Edward M. Maloney||Ahern, Maloney and Moran, Skokie, Illinois
|Lieutenant Robert Brown||Tennessee Highway Patrol|
|Chief Michael N. Geraci||Schenectady Police Department, New York|
|Chronic Offenders / Youth & Alcohol|
|Robert B. Voas, Ph.D.||Senior Research Scientist, Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation|