Driving certificate

Lubbock drunk driving on the rise

LUBBOCK, Texas — LPD data shows they have made 204 drunk driving arrests so far in 2022, more than 30% more than at this point in 2019 and 2020.

Last year, DWI arrests were up 31% from 2020, with 517 arrests. Over the past three and a half years, the LPD has averaged more than one DWI arrest per day.

“It’s pretty staggering and you can see what a social issue this is,” said Dawn Bevan, senior victim services specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “We need to change the way society views drunk driving.”

While LPD said DWI arrests increase on some weekend nights and during holidays, they actually decrease in early summer each June. They attribute this trend to the dwindling population experienced by Lubbock as students leave for summer vacation.

This will be the first summer LPD has deployed its Focused Traffic Enforcement Teams, which specifically look for drunk driving and other serious travel violations.

“We take precautions and change the way we police based on certain days of the year or current events,” Lt. Brady Cross said. “They are looking for drunk drivers and other driving offenses that put the public at risk. These are things they specifically target.

Most first-time DWI offenses are Class B misdemeanors, but certain factors can increase penalties, such as showing a blood alcohol level over 0.15, traveling with a child in the car, or injuring others people in an accident.

LPD uses field sobriety tests published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and can also obtain blood warrants. Cross also noted that many traffic patrols are focused on the Depot district.

According to MADD, the average person is estimated to have driven while intoxicated 80 times when first arrested for DWI. They also estimate that one in ten drivers in the area are drunk after 10 p.m.

“When you see someone lose a family member to such a senseless and preventable crime, it’s really a social problem we have. I’ve seen people suffer horrible injuries for the rest of their life – brain damage, physical damage, emotional damage. And then, of course, losing a loved one affects many, many people,” she said. “The drunk driver, they don’t think about everyone they can affect. You can affect thousands of lives just by injuring or killing one person, or even losing your life.”

Lubbock MADD is hosting their “Walk Like MADD” event on August 6 in front of the Lubbock County Courthouse, where they will raise funds and honor lost lives. They encourage victims to find resources and support at www.madd.org

“When you go through such a traumatic incident, you often feel like you’re alone. We want them to know they are not alone. MADD is there for them.

LPD continues to encourage responsibility and safety, for those who may leave the house to drink and for anyone who drives at night.

“Accidents happen every day, all the time,” Lt. Cross said. “Sometimes they can’t be avoided, but one thing that can be avoided for sure is drunk driving.”