SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There’s no shortage of holiday parties to toast the Christmas season, but the party is over fast if you get arrested for drunk driving. Sioux Falls Police are warning you to get a ride home if you’ve been drinking. However, there are fewer DUI arrests in the city this year, and we may even end the year with under 1,000.
Here’s a look at the numbers. To date, officers have arrested 869 people for DUI. That’s down from 1,009 last year. 2017 saw 1,220 people behind bars for DUI, which dropped again from 2016’s total of 1,152. Police say there are many reasons why, but say something right at your fingertips may be helping.
If you get pulled over for drunk driving, it could cost you thousands of dollars. Attorney fees, court costs, and insurance premiums all add up, but they may not be the biggest price to pay.
“There’s people’s lives that are at stake,” Sam Clemens, public information officer for the Sioux Falls Police Department, said.
Sioux Falls’ three-year decline in DUI arrests may be a sign of progress when it comes to keeping drunk drivers off the roads. Coincidentally, the rate started dropping in 2017 when Lyft came to town.
“It’s really hard to prove a negative. It’s hard to say we didn’t make an arrest because someone took an Uber or took a Lyft,” Clemens said.
Prior to this recent drop, the number of DUI arrests pre-Lyft was at 1,072 in 2013, before steadily increasing and peaking in 2016. Still, Clemens says ride-sharing helps the cause.
“Having those ride sharing apps certainly makes a difference. I think it’s more convenient for people. I think there’s a lot of people using it,” Clemens said.
“There’s no reason to drive if you’ve had too much to drink. There are plenty of options that are reliable and affordable,” Natalie Eisenberg said.
Natalie Eisenberg says ride sharing apps not only help keep drunk drivers off the road, they may also increase safety for sober drivers.
“It does give me piece of mind and it’s amazing how many of the ride sharing vehicles you see out and about on evenings and on weekends,” Eisenberg said.
“We certainly want everybody to enjoy their holiday parties and holiday season. We want everybody to be safe as well,” Clemens said.
Clemens says the DUI numbers are primarily made up of people arrested for drunk driving, but may also include people on controlled substances or other drugs.