DUI arrests down across Tri-Cities

DUI arrests down across Tri-Cities »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash -- Drunk driving arrests are dropping across the Tri-Cities. Officers believe it's truly a reflection of people being smart and not letting people get away with it. KEPR looked at efforts on the roads.

Fireworks, music, and flashing lights can only mean one thing.
Time to bring in the New Year. And for many people that means drinking.

"We have a couple of drinks but we do that at home," said Jonathan Rider.

Jonathan likes to celebrate as a family. He wants to avoid the chaos on the roads. A drunk driver once got in a wreck outside of Jonathan's home.

"I think people shouldn't drink and drive for a number of reasons because it affects not only the families that are injured, but also the family of the person that was driving, it affects a lot of people," said Rider.

We are seeing fewer DUI's during the holiday season. During the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's there were 145 arrests in 2010 in Benton and Franklin Counties. That fell to 110 last year. And it's pacing to run below that this year.

"We want people to celebrate, we want them to have fun, we want them to arrive home safely," said Target Zero Manager, Michael Aldridge.

The "Target Zero" campaign began more than a decade ago. It aims to have no deaths related to drunk driving by 2030. The most recent holiday campaign wraps New Year's Day.

"If we can affect the number of impaired drivers then we can impact the number of fatalities and that's our goal when we talk about Target Zero for the State of Washington," said Aldridge.

Out of all the car accident related fatalities, nearly half of those are due to impaired driving. The Target Zero Campaign is continuously working to get that number down.

"The more officers that are out there and the more key locations that they're at, the better," said Rider.

Twenty additional officers were scheduled to protect the roads around the Tri-Cities for New Year's Eve.

Target Zero runs three other campaigns each year besides the one over the holidays. The grand total for those doesn't show the same downward trend overall. In recent years the arrests grew from 302 to 318. We don't know the overall total for this year but it's expected to be lower than 318.