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South Florida police reveal sharp drop in DUI arrests

August 5, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
South Florida police reveal sharp drop in DUI arrests Screenshot

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The number of DUI arrests and drunk drivers on the road in South Florida appears to be declining sharply, or at least the number of them getting caught is.

South Florida is widely known for it’s bustling nightlife with nightclubs open until late, where alcohol flows freely and the public transportation system leaves a lot to be desired.

However, in the past four years, the number of DUI arrests made by Miami-Dade’s two largest police departments have plummeted.

In Miami-Dade, the largest police department in the Southeastern U.S., arrests were down a staggering 65 percent in 2017 from four years earlier. Miami-Dade police arrested more than 1,500 people each year from 2013 through 2015. Only 594 were arrested on the same charge last year.

Miami’s numbers weren’t quite as eye-popping, though they also declined a lot.

Miami police arrested 461 people on DUI charges in 2013. By 2015, the number dropped to 321 and has leveled off since — a 31 percent decrease.

Some of the credit probably goes to the rise of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

Their increasing popularity coincided almost directly with the drop in DUI arrests but studies also have found impacts varied from city to city.

Other factors also play in, say those who track the numbers. Some attribute the drop-off to a more educated public. Others point to more pro-active law enforcement and a trendy distaste for driving by the millennial generation.

“The reality is, it’s really hard to know the complete impact,” said David Pinsker, Florida’s executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an agency that works closely with dozens of police departments across the nation to curb the potentially deadly mixture of booze and motorized vehicles. “I think it’s just really hard to pinpoint exactly what ride-sharing has done. We know it’s had an impact. I can say that certainly. But I can’t put a number on it.”

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