Drunk driving arrests in 2021 are already up from last year, but down significantly from previous years – partly due to the COVID pandemic, according to a new report issued by Bend Police.
The agency has made 388 DUII arrests so far in 2021, up from 302 in 2020.
However, those numbers are down from 549 arrests in 2019, 492 in 2018 and 512 in 2017.
In total, the Bend Police Department has made 2,243 DUII arrests over the last five years.
According to the data, there was a noticeable decline from 2019 to 2020 and police say it’s because the COVID-19 pandemic forced many bars and restaurants to close or reduce their hours.
The agencies involved in the arrests are Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Redmond Police Department, Sunriver Police Department and Black Butte Police Department
These law enforcement agencies combined, averaged 1,150 DUII arrests per year (2017, 2018, 2019) or 3.2 arrests per day.
In 2020 and 2021 these agencies were estimated to have a combined average of 825 DUII arrests per year or 2.3 arrests per day.
A 2021 survey reveals between most community members rank distracted driving and speeding as their highest concerns, with over 60% supporting police make more efforts to enforce DUII crimes.
This year, the Bend Police Department assigned two officers as a dedicated DUII/aggressive driving enforcement team.
“The goals of the Bend Police Department are aligned with the goals of our community in ensuring overall safety by enforcing dangerous driving behavior to include DUII enforcement, speeding, and distracted driving,” said Police Chief Mike Krantz.
The Bend Police Department is focusing on increasing DUII enforcement from this dedicated team, as well as officers on their traffic team and patrol division.
The data for the last five years is detailed below.
Bend police encourage community members who drink alcohol to use ride share opportunities such as Lyft, Uber, or taxi services; or to designate a sober driver.
Police also ask the community to report suspected drunk drivers by calling the non-emergency line at 541-693-6911, or 911.
The consequences for a first time conviction for driving under the influence is a one-year driver’s license suspension, a minimum fine of $1,000, and up to a year in jail.