New Year's DUI arrests fall in Richmond County

DUI arrests were down in Richmond County this New Year’s weekend compared to last, and tying the number from the year before.

For the weekend of 2010 to 2011, officials made 11 drunken driving arrests Friday, which was New Year’s Eve, 12 on Saturday and two on Sunday.

This year, nine people were arrested for DUI on Friday, nine on Saturday, which was New Year’s Eve, and two on Sunday for a total of 20 arrests, the same as the 2009 to 2010 New Year’s.

This was the second year the holiday fell on a weekend, which Capt. Scott Gay had said attributed to the rise in arrests last year.

Gay attributed this year’s decline in DUI arrests to the public’s knowledge of the programs offered for sober rides. Those included AAA and Budweiser’s Two To Go initiative, where they not only drove impaired residents home, but also towed their cars.

He also said the combined three-night effort by the sheriff’s office, Georgia State Patrol and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, advertised more aggressively for programs such as the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which ran from Dec. 16 through Monday.

“People are paying more attention and preparing better for a night on the town,” Gay said. “We also did a better job of advertising that we had more deputies out.”

This year, the sheriff’s office added 40 extra deputies to the normal weekend shift, compared to 20 last year.

Richmond County also gave out 160 speeding citations, including 93 on Saturday alone; 17 seat belt violations; 28 suspended license citations; and 57 warnings, among others.

“This was a safe New Year’s in Richmond County,” Gay said.

Aiken County arrested no impaired drivers on Friday, three on Saturday and two on Sunday, according to the jail’s booking officer. Columbia County’s numbers were not immediately available.

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