In a startling new study totaling state-by-state DUI arrests, Washington
State has been ranked 9th highest in the entire country. Seattle in particular
totaled nearly 3,000 DUI arrests in 2013 alone.
As Fusion reports, the numbers were compiled by Project Know, a resource center dedicated
to substance abuse issues. In their report, they focused their DUI arrest
data on 2013 and found some alarming, if not puzzling findings.
One of more fascinating points was Washington's DUI statistics in relation
to Washington's DUI laws, which are some of the toughest in the country.
Seattle was found to be a DUI arrest "hotspot," with the downtown
areas and northern parts of the city producing the highest numbers. The
city had 2,861 total DUI arrests in 2013, a 32% increase from the year previous.
Seattle's big DUI numbers do not support the theory prevalent in other
urban areas were DUI arrests are down. The use of public transportation
and rise in rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are widely believed
to have contributed to a decrease in overall arrests—however, in
the Seattle, this appears not to be the case.
An indication of different policing priorities?
As Fusion also points out, there may be another important variable when
considering Washington's high numbers: policing. Washington State
does not use sobriety checkpoints, which could mean that spotting impaired
motorists on the road could be a high priority for local police departments,
thus leading to more arrests.
In comparison, Boston has bafflingly low DUI arrest numbers—a fact
that has been a concern for some activists for some time. They believe
that Boston's low numbers aren't because people aren't drunk
driving, but because policing drunk driving isn't a priority for Massachusetts
police departments. Fusion quotes Ron Bersani, a DUI activist who lost
his granddaughter to a drunk driver who once spoke to
The Boston Globe about the state's suspiciously low numbers: "It can’t possibly
be a priority given those statistics," he told the paper. "It’s
skewed beyond belief."
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