Idaho State Police Capt. Eric Dayley said he has observed a disturbing trend in southeastern Idaho lately: The number of DUIs is spiking. In just the last two months, DUI charges have jumped two to three times the normal amount, he said.
Dayley said it could be happening for any number of reasons, but he is unsure of exactly why there have been so many. His biggest concern is figuring out how to get people to stop.
ISP troopers average five DUI arrests in a week, but in April and May they have averaged 10 to 15 per week.
“We had 16 DUI arrests last week — nine of them were over the weekend. So I think it’s just people out drinking and driving and not remembering to have a designated driver,” Dayley said.
Even though Memorial Day weekend had more arrests than other recent weekends, things have been consistently high. And throughout the area it’s been a similar story.
“I was at a law enforcement meeting the other day and Chubbuck Police mentioned they’ve seen the same trend in their arrests,” Dayley said.
Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said he’s seen a 12-percent increase throughout April and May when compared to the same time last year.
Dayley said, with only 65-percent of people wearing seat belts in the area, he is worried about someone dying in a DUI crash. Nielsen agreed.
“It discourages us because there’s a lot more traffic on the road now too as people start getting ready for summer. And the two don’t mix. If you’ve got impaired, drunk drivers on the road, the two don’t mix,” Nielsen said.
Dayley said he has a couple extra troopers out right now, but does not attribute that to the spike. If the trend increases, the will be putting more officers on the road, he said.
Nielsen added that the county’s DUI arrests were also more aggressive: His officers have had to force blood draws from more people than normal.