Washington DUI Arrest Rates Rank Among the Nation's Highest

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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