Nationwide DUI Crackdown Extends Beyond National Campaign
By: Mary Ann Pekara
The well-publicized national crackdown on drunk driving at the end of the summer seems to have served its purpose. Across the country, state and local law enforcement agencies are reporting increased numbers of i arrests-and decreased numbers of drunk driving fatalities.
California DUI arrests: In the Bay area alone, a variety of California law enforcement agencies arrested 373 alleged drunk drivers between Friday evening and Monday morning of Labor Day weekend. That's up from 318 the previous year. And across the state, the California Highway Patrol reports 1,571 California DUI arrests during the first three days of the holiday weekend, up from 1,321 in 2005.
Michigan DUI arrests: Michigan state officials report that more than 1,800 Michigan DUI arrests were made during the "You drink, you drive, you lose" campaign that closed out August and ran through Labor Day weekend. Early reports indicated that there was only one alcohol-related traffic fatality across the state of Michigan during the holiday weekend.Colorado DUI arrests:
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado DUI arrests during the 18-day campaign surpassed drunk driving arrests during a 25-day enforcement period the previous year. Colorado's participation in the 2006 nationwide DUI enforcement campaign ended with 1,913 arrests. Colorado DUI arrests during the holiday weekend were up as well, with 606 arrests compared to 487 DUI arrests during the same period in 2005.
Increased DUI enforcement wasn't limited to the national end-of-summer campaign, though. While enhanced drunk driving enforcement activities were well-publicized during the campaign, many state and local law enforcement agencies have been quietly stepping up enforcement before and after the national campaign, and in many states new procedures are providing them with greater enforcement capabilities as well.
Long before the concentrated national campaign kicked in at the end of the summer, local law enforcement agencies across the country were increasing their efforts. For instance, the little town of Ukiah, California has increased its DUI arrests by more than 500% in 2006. Ukiah DUI arrests for the first seven months of 2005 totaled only 56; during the same period in 2006, Ukiah DUI enforcement officers made 283 arrests.
Concentrated patrols and DUI checkpoints didn't end with the national campaign, either. 25 Georgia DUI suspects were arrested in Decatur County on one Friday night in September.
Whether through DUI checkpoints, saturation patrols, increased law enforcement resources devoted to DUI enforcement, enhanced penalties, or increased tools for investigation and prosecution, law enforcement agencies across the country are cracking down on drunk driving.