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Tragic accident highlights the problem of drunk driving in the NFL

At this time of the year, the overwhelming majority of the conversation concerning the National Football League is dedicated to the hunt for the playoffs and the players who are most deserving of certain coveted awards. However, a fatal drunk driving accident involving two players from the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend has led many people to start talking about whether NFL personnel, coaches and players are doing enough to combat alcohol abuse.

The fatal accident in question occurred early last Saturday morning when a car driven by Cowboys linebacker Josh Brent struck a curb and flipped over, killing his passenger and teammate Jerry Brown. Law enforcement officials later determined Brent was driving under the influence and placed him under arrest.

While it's tempting to think that this was only an isolated incident, consider the following sobering statistics:

  • Of the 624 arrests involving NFL players since January 2000, exactly 177 were for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Since 1998, three NFL players have been arrested on suspicion of killing another person in a drunk driving crash
  • On average, 13 to 14 NFL players are arrested for driving under the influence in a given year

"We've all done it," said San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes of drunk driving. "But it's to a point now where maybe you were ignorant and didn't know any better or felt you were invincible. We've had enough of death to show us this is what you do not do."

What makes the number of DUI arrests so troublesome is that the NFL has tried a multitude of measures to combat the problem from education to discipline. In fact, players are even provided with free chauffer services no matter where they happen to be located.

The problem, experts say, is that NFL players fall squarely into the demographic that is most likely to drive under the influence -- 21-34 year old men. This compounded with the fact that many players drive fancy cars, have lots of money and a desire to have go out on the town all serve to create the potential for drunk driving.

Here's hoping that players take this recent tragedy to heart and use it as an opportunity to introduce real change.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

A DWI/DUI arrest can have a serious impact on your life in a number of ways and result in various penalties. In fact, many of these penalties are much more serious than the mere license suspension or revocation.

When faced with this scenario, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


USA Today, "Does the NFL have a drinking problem?," Brent Schrotenboer, Dec. 10, 2012

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