Despite a slight jump in DUIs in Sarasota County last month, the long-term rate of arrests for driving under the influence has declined significantly during the past year.
In January, saturation patrols resulted in 18 DUI arrests and 349 citations for other traffic offenses. These numbers do not include DUI arrests made during the month outside these specific initiatives.
Overall, 76 DUI arrests were made in Sarasota County in January, a slight uptick from the 72 arrests made in January 2012.
Last year, however, Sarasota County saw an overall reduction in DUI arrests. According to Sheriff’s Office data, Sarasota County reported 1,007 DUI arrests in 2013, compared with 1,258 in 2012 —a 20% drop.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 10,000 people die nationally each year due to drunk driving.
The Sheriff’s Office credits its saturation patrols with bringing down the DUI rate countywide.
DUI saturation patrols are run in addition to deputies’ normal patrol beats and are an alternative to traditional DUI checkpoints. The patrols geographically concentrate a cadre of deputies on the lookout for impaired drivers. The agency announces ahead of time the dates of the saturation patrols, but not the locations.
In February, patrols began on the 1st and 2nd and will subsequently be held on the 8th, 15th, 16th and 22nd. This initiative is conducted in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and supported through a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.
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