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.