WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 22, 2010, 09:28 AM

So far this year, DUI arrests in Fargo are up

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - You may have noticed new LED billboards around Fargo, tallying up the number of DUI arrests made by police in the city. We first showed you them June 10th. There were 360 DUI arrests.

Today, those billboards read 445 arrests. They'll be updated tomorrow with 465 arrests, an increase of more than 100 in 6-weeks. How do the numbers compare to last year?

Every Friday, the numbers on these LED signs change, climbing and recording the number of DUI arrests made by Fargo Police.

“To act as a deterrent, we don't want anybody to become a statistic and have those numbers go up there.”

Sergeant Mike Bernier says the Fargo area has a serious problem with DUI’s. In 2009, 836 DUI arrests were made, that's down from previous years. So far this year, the numbers are up, already 465 DUI arrests, more than half of last year's total and there's still five months to go.

“But that doesn't necessarily mean that there are more drunk drivers out there. It's just that we have a little more staffing and are able to get out there and make more arrests.”

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has its own advertisement around town. This billboard lets people know officers are out patrolling the roads, trying to put an end to impaired driving.

“Historically, we consistently run anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of our fatality crashes are alcohol related. That's why we feel it is so critical to remove that impaired driver from the road.”

Taking a larger look at Cass County, Highway Patrol officers have made 154 DUI arrests so far this year. Region wide across 15 counties, there are 298 arrests.

“I have no doubt that every one of the officers that arrested a drunk driver, feels that they've either saved that person's life or someone else's life, out on the road.”

Highway patrol officers do extensive training to spot the signs of people driving under the influence of alcohol, or any other form of drug.