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Published February 03, 2012, 07:02 PM

Fargo police spotted startling statistics in January DUI arrests

Fargo,ND (WDAY TV) - In Fargo, the month of January had a higher number of DUI arrests compared to last year. Police say even though the number is higher the amount of arrests is trending close to average. But there is another problem causing concern.

In Fargo, the month of January had a higher number of DUI arrests compared to last year. Police say even though the number is higher the amount of arrests is trending close to average. But there is another problem causing concern.

Although we are starting the year off with a large number of DUIs, police say this isn't the only thing that's concerning. Another factor to look at is the amount of alcohol people are consuming before getting behind the wheel.

So far there have been 97 DUI arrests in the month of January compared to last January's 82. In 2010 there were 875 DUI arrests and in 2011 a total of 1127. Lieutenant Joel Vettel says the numbers are up, but what's alarming is the average blood alcohol levels.

The average blood alcohol level of people arrested has nearly doubled over the last several years. January's average blood alcohol level was .18 when the legal limit is .08

Lt. Joel Vettel – Fargo Police: “That is a number that alarms me far more, because that means people are extremely intoxicated and on average people are twice the legal limit when we are arresting them.”

Vettel points out that these drunk drivers are the most dangerous and typically cause the most fatal accidents. He says the police department has designated specific enforcement to help combat drunk driving.

The petition drive to restore the Fighting Sioux nickname is within a thousand signatures needed to put the issue to a state-wide vote.

The petition organizer says his group has a solid 12,500 signatures. Reed Soderstrom says they've had little trouble collecting signatures except in Grand Forks. He says very few businesses will allow petitions. He blames that on pressure from UND administrators.

The deadline to turn in the petitions is midnight Tuesday.

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