New Year's weekend DUI arrests dip after funding decrease

Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 10:05pm

The recent New Year’s weekend saw a drop in DUI arrests by 24 compared to last year’s numbers during a similar timeframe.

Metro police arrested 34 people on DUI charges between 6 p.m. Dec. 30 through Jan. 2, according to numbers provided by the department. Last year Metro officers arrested 58 people on DUI charges over the New Year’s holiday, which ran from 6 p.m. Dec. 31, 2009, through Jan. 3, 2010.

Metro police saw a nearly 60 percent reduction in a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. The grant is passed down through federal funding.

State officials said they were forced to redistribute funding for this current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. That meant no additional extra-duty officers were added to the department’s regular weekend DUI enforcement.

For this New Year’s Eve celebration, volunteers from the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office provided rides home to 800 people as part of its Sober Ride program, according to the office.

Last year the program gave rides to about 1,200. DCSO spokeswoman Karla Weikal said that while the drop to 800 rides is significant, the numbers fluctuate from year to year.

This year’s wet weather arriving around midnight might have had an effect on the numbers, Weikal said.

She added that while 800 people driven home after drinking is still a positive development, the sheriff’s office will continue to assess the program for possible improvement.


13 Comments on this post:

By: serr8d on 1/7/11 at 6:46

People aren't drinking and driving as much, perhaps? Or are they getting smarter about the mechanics of successfully drinking and driving?

The chill given to partygoers and celebratory folks by heavy-handed police presence and TV and radio ads has worked. Fewer people want to cross these unsmiling thugs with badges, even when sober. Plus, younger people know at an earlier age to stay sober on the main roads. If they don't learn that, well, they will learn the hard way.

The rest of us know to stay away from known hotspots, bars, main roads, all major cities after dark, downtown Nashville at any time and other places where enforcement is known to be heavy-handed and unpleasant.

It's an adaption process I'm thinking.

By: AmyLiorate on 1/7/11 at 8:31

If the number of people asking for a ride went down by 30% and the DUI stops didn't go UP then it might be safe to say a large number of people didn't go out to party, or stayed over night where they were drinking.

The bottom line is - did the number of wrecks go up? Fatalities? If the people were safe on New Years that is what matters. We have these laws for safety, not so the police have something to do or a quota to fill.

I took a cab, it's a lot cheaper to pay $20 for a ride than 2 grand for a DUI attorney.

By: cval on 1/7/11 at 9:23

Cut off funding to law enforcement and fewer people will break the law. Hmm.

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 1/7/11 at 9:32

Every New Year our rights are trampled by the law enforcement establishment that has no respect for our right not to be detained without probable cause. Sobriety check-points are doing exactly that - violating our rights. Unless you are driving suspiciously, the police have no reason (or right) to stop and detain you. Slowly but surely, we are losing our rights to an overbearing government while the citizens let it happen so they can have a false sense of security.

By: on 1/7/11 at 10:11

I'd like to see a statistic that shows how many people had a few drinks, drove, home, and nothing happened. These DUI laws do nothing to keep the real problem drumk drivers off the roads. They are a hardship on families, and there are already laws on the books for speeding, hit and run, or any other moving traffic violation someone might do while driving either sober, drunk, or otherwise. I'd like to know how many homes were burglarized while people were away and out on New Year's Eve. Law Enforcement's priorities need to get back to catching REAL criminals, and not making criminals out of tax-paying, law-abiding, productive citizens.

By: iTiSi on 1/7/11 at 11:26

The Davidson Co. Sheriffs Dept. gave a ride to 800 intoxicated lawbreakers, and have no business being involved in doing this. It's hard to stop private concerns like AAA teaming up with Miller Brewing Co., as the have ulterior motives($$$$$$$$). although AAA should be ashamed of themselves, and I cancelled my membership last year after they participated. It is against the law, same as illegal immigration, to be publicly intoxicated, therefore they are taking lawbreakers home, even if some deny it. I know they use volunteers, but it would be interesting to know who pays for the gas they use to run all over town. Seems it would be less costly to set up roadblocks, along with the police and state troopers and catch those who are inebriated on the drug known as alcohol. The main reason I am appalled at this practice is the fact that a study and research done about 5 yrs. ago by the University of Buffalo showed that domestic abuse on wives and girlfriends increases about 18 times immideiately after a drinking binge. So they are basically taking several of them home to beat their loved ones, sometimes including kids. One would think MADD and domestic abuse advocates would be in an uproar. Pick them up if you like but take the drunks to jail and let them sleep it off one night. Maybe then they will think twice about doing it again the next weekend, when there are no "free rides". Instead of fighting and putting a stop to a lot of it, law enforcement is simply giving in and enabling and abetting those who think they have to have a drug to have fun!

By: AmyLiorate on 1/7/11 at 11:46

Quit your whining iTiSi! And go get me another beer before I hafta pop you again!

You really have a problem with AAA and volunteers giving people free rides? If a beer company takes some of their profits and uses them to help people be responsible that is wrong? and a reason to stop using the service of AAA?

Your solution however is that we should spend tons tax money and block off all the roads, use hundreds of policemen to catch a couple of dozen more people?

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 1/7/11 at 12:29

iTiSi really needs to have a drink.

By: TITAN1 on 1/7/11 at 12:40

Whatever makes the roads safer, I am for it. My rights HAVE NOT been violated if I am detained at a roadblock. I have nothing to hide. My rights HAVE been violated if one of my love ones or myself is injured or killed by a drunk driver.

By: Antisocialite on 1/7/11 at 12:50

For your information iTiSi, simply being drunk is NOT enough to arrest anyone...even in public, and the fact that you don't know this, only proves that you are little more than another woefully misinformed citizen that is too lazy to do a 2 minute Google search to confirm their own unfounded suspicions. Since you are obviously a tool I will spell this one out:

Under Tennessee law, a person commits the offense of public intoxication who appears in a public place under the influence of a controlled substance or any other intoxicating substance to the degree that:

• The offender may be endangered;
• There is endangerment to other persons or property; or
• The offender unreasonably annoys people in the vicinity. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-310 (2007).

Now go take your new age Temperance crap somewhere else.

By: AmyLiorate on 1/7/11 at 2:34

Thanks Titan. I have nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I have something to show either. Feel free to give your own rights away, but you can't have mine.

You guys are asking for more cops just to feel safe. The story didn't mention if there were more or less wrecks. It sounds like things went pretty well.

By: iTiSi on 1/7/11 at 3:04

Antisocialite, you are the naive and ignorant one. Numerous arrests are made for public intoxication. I saw a homeless man get arrested a few months ago in downtown Nashville just "staggering" down the street. My main point is that drunks do not need to be taken directly home to beat their wives or girlfriends by the Sheriffs office. It's bad enough as it is! Per Dr. William Fals-Stewart, University of Buffalo: "We found that the timing of violent episodes(domestic abuse) was more likely to occur during or shortly after the drinking episodes".

By: Antisocialite on 1/11/11 at 1:16

iTiSi, how about you actually, oh I don't know, read what I actually wrote... it is an excerpt from the Tennessee State Code, you know THE LAW, which you seem to still be ignorant of. Your pitiful attempt at a counterpoint (the homeless man staggering) actually only reinforces my original post because it clearly falls under one or more of the bullet points listed in the code. In addition, your University of Buffalo research study is pretty close to meaningless in this context because, as any scientist worth his salt knows that a study like that is nigh impossible to apply on a case by case basis, and your layman's take on it wants to do exactly that.

Let me be clear, I know that none of this will likely change your mind because clearly you are a sanctimonious teetotaler and I highly doubt you will even read it since this thread is a few days old; but you do need to realize that your opinion is not gospel, and that you are not a lawyer (hell, you can't even be bothered to do a cursory search on Google, much less real legal research) so until you can come to the table and debate like an adult it's best to stick to preaching to the choir at your Temperance meetings.