Survey shows fewer drunk driving arrests during pandemic

(The Center Square) – The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists is out with its annual DUI arrests survey, which shows fewer drunken driving arrests during the pandemic.

Since 1990, the alliance has conducted a survey of Illinois police departments to determine how many DUI arrests they make and give recognition to the most productive departments.

“The main purpose was to obviously save lives and then see just how well a job some departments are doing compared to others,” AAIM Executive Director Rita Kreslin.

The decrease is being attributed to pandemic restrictions that limited bar ad restaurant service and resulted in a decline in the number of people on the roads.

Illinois State Police made 5,947 DUI arrests last year, compared to 7,468 in 2019.

The Decatur Police Department led the state last year in DUI arrests among city departments, with 344 in 2020. They were followed by Rockford (304), Bloomington (254) and Naperville (242).

“The Decatur Police Department understands the incredible danger that impaired driving poses to the community,” states Decatur Police Chief James Getz, Jr. “As such, for several years we have made DUI enforcement one of the priorities in our daily duties.”

Of the top 10 departments with the most arrests, the numbers were down except for in one city. Waukegan made 18% more arrests last year than in 2019.

The highest DUI arrest rate in the state among departments making at least 200 arrests was Carol Stream, which had 3.80 arrests per sworn officer. Since 2006, Carol Stream has been one of the top ten departments in DUI arrests per officer.

Kreslin said recreational cannabis continues to be a concern.

“It is hard to prove that marijuana is involved unless of course there is a crash and there is blood drawn, but marijuana is the second toxin found in their system next to alcohol when they are arrested for DUI,” Kreslin said.

AAIM is an Illinois-only citizen activist group founded in 1982 by victims of drunk driving.

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