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Police Using Social Media to Catch Drunk Drivers

November 2, 2015 | Category: Blog, DUI

A local woman is lucky to be alive, according to Lakeland, Florida police, after going on a drunk driving trip she recorded and broadcast live on her own phone with the Periscope app on October 13, 2015. Callers to 911 reported the woman to police. The police then logged onto the Periscope app and identified, found and arrested the woman for DUI.

Another woman pled guilty in February 2015 after tweeting “2 Drunk 2 Care” just minutes before a deadly head-on collision that killed two young women on the Sawgrass Expressway in Florida in November 2013.

Social media use by police – in July 2015 reported that more and more police departments are using social media for a variety of purposes. This includes spreading information to catching criminals. They are also using social media to prevent crime, obtain information on suspects and spread information about safety concerns to the community.

A teen was taken into custody after bragging about a boozed up hit-and-run on Facebook. The police were alerted to the post by another Facebook user who saw the teen’s antics on their news feed.

Social networks have far-reaching platforms for sharing everything and anything on the internet. This includes relationship status, political leanings, photos of pets and children and what we are doing. After sharing on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, many are discovering that what is being shared can constitute evidence that can be used against them.

Social media is also being used by police to publicize DUI checkpoints. Max Little, a traffic resource prosecutor for The Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, says, “I think social media coverage of sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols, et cetera, actually accomplishes one of the objectives of DUI enforcement, which is the deterrent effect. Just the fact that people are aware of different operations going on, it shows it’s on people’s minds.”

According to Andrew Carr’s article “Police Use Social Media To Share Information” in The Sentinel, a Pennsylvania newspaper, “Police agencies use social media platforms as an investigation tool, as well as a means to get information out to the public regarding ongoing or emergency situations.”

Close to 96 percent of police departments are using social media in some capacity according to a survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The most common site used is Facebook, followed by Twitter and YouTube.

DUI still too high in Florida

Whether using social media or other means of stopping drunk driving, DUI is still too high in Florida. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) reports that in Florida so far in 2015 there have been 40,677 drunk driving arrests, and to date, 26,291 convictions.

There are approximately 10,000 alcohol-related vehicle fatalities every year in spite of the fact that the number of drunk-driving deaths has decreased since the inception of the 2000 law making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, according to NIH (National Institute of Health).

“The tragedy of DUI accidents is that they can be prevented by not drinking and driving and using designated drivers,” said Hurt ByDrunk Driver Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.

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