Cases involving police who drive drunk are part of the larger problem of driving under the influence (DUI). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that alcohol-impaired traffic accidents kill over 10,000 people annually, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). But, cases that involve police who drive drunk (or, Police DUIs) should also be recognized as a phenomenon that presents unique problems. Police DUI's have the potential to weaken public trust and the legitimacy of strategies designed to mitigate drunk driving, because the drunk driver in these cases is among those expected to enforce DUI laws and protect society from drivers who are intoxicated. We know that police do sometimes drive drunk through scandals or journalistic investigations of particular (usually horrific) cases; but, there are neither systematic studies focused on police DUI nor data that describe the phenomenon on a national scale.
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