Sharp increase in DUI arrests

Bellevue police officers have arrested 236 drivers for Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol from January through November 2022. That is a 36% increase in DUI arrests compared to last year and a 71% increase from the pre-pandemic arrests in 2019. With extra DUI patrols scheduled through the end of the year, that number will climb.

DUI Arrests January – November

“Most of these arrests stem from officers who witnessed erratic driving and pulled the drivers over for traffic violations,” said Major Dave Sanabria. “The arrests very easily could have prevented a tragic collision.” Of the DUI arrests in 2022, 30% involved collisions, and 90% occurred at night.

Bellevue police officers will be participating in high-visibility DUI emphasis patrols through the end of the year. So far in December, officers have arrested 13 additional drivers for DUI.

“We want everyone to get home safely to their loved ones,” Sanabria added. “Unfortunately, more than 50% of traffic fatalities involve impaired drivers, and those deaths are completely preventable.”

The best thing you can do if you plan to celebrate over the holidays is to make sure you have a plan.  Either designate a driver or line up a rideshare to make sure you get home safely.

The increase in DUI arrests is due partly to the department’s participation in the King County Target Zero DUI Emphasis Patrols and the anti-crime initiative Bellevue police launched earlier this year. The anti-crime initiative focuses on targeted operations in area hotspots where thefts and criminal activity is on the rise. The anti-crime initiative includes high-visibility patrols to combat collision-causing violations like DUIs.

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