BEND, OR -- Deschutes County deputies are taking extra steps to watch for people Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants over the New Year's holiday weekend. Sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Wall says 2023 DUII arrests are level with 2022 for his agency, "Last year alone, there were 270 arrests made for DUI. That is everything that encompasses driving under the influence of intoxicants; it’s not just alcohol. For this year, for 2023, we have 257 arrests made. So, we’re definitely creeping up on last year’s numbers."
An increasing number of those arrests involve cannabis, "Approximately 25% of our DUIs result in maybe alcohol plus THC or just THC, or other narcotics in their system as well."
Wall says it’s a crime that’s completely preventable, "It probably sounds like a broken record, but if you’re going to imbibe or if you’re going to ingest intoxicants - whatever that might be - please get yourself a designated driver." He tells KBND News, "As Bend grows, and as the population here grows, we have more drivers on the road at all times of the day and night. With that, comes the added benefit of rideshare - Uber, Lyft and companies similar. There really is no reason to get behind the wheel if you’re under the influence."
Several local agencies use state overtime grants to pay for extra DUI patrols, as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs through Monday.
Oregon State Police report troopers arrested more than 2,600 people statewide for driving under the influence, between January first and the third week of December. While OSP is increasing DUII patrols on New Years Eve, troopers will conduct targeted operations in southern Oregon, where they say impaired driving has become a prolific problem. In Jackson and Josephine counties, so far this year, OSP has arrested 355 suspects for DUII.