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County Sees Increase In Drunk Drivers

In spite of efforts to raise public awareness, beef up law enforcement, and even innovative programs like the 911 REDDI reports, Tipsy Taxi and the Tips Program, drunk driving arrests are up in Natrona County. Casper Police Chief Tom Pagel says with an increase in the number of drunk drivers on the streets, it’s eventually going to result in a fatal crash.

Drunk drivers cause crashes:

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“Unfortunately, we’re up about nine and a half percent on drunk drivers. We’re probably gonna arrest, it looks like about 650 for the year in the city, and countywide with all law enforcement agencies, about twelve-hundred. That is a high number, and it’s a number that eventually it’s going to jump out and get you in deaths.”

When asked if the increase in arrests could be due to extra law enforcement, Chief Pagel said no; it’s more drunk drivers.

Irresponsible drinking:

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“The enforcement is certainly a priority of ours, but it has been for several years. And we actually have fewer officers right now with the downturn in the economy than we’ve had. So, we’re looking at irresponsible drinking is what we’re looking at.”

And if someone has had three drinks or more, they should not drive, said Pagel.

No excuse for driving:

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“The liquor dealers association is doing tips training every month for their employees to better recognize the potential drunk driver. The tipsy taxi has been put in place. You can always designate a driver. There’s really no excuse to drive drunk in Natrona County.”

New Year’s Eve comes with a warning from Chief Pagel.

Extra law enforcement:

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“You will see enhanced enforcement. Every year, between federal grants and state grants, you get money for overtime for DUI enforcement for the holidays. And we are certainly set up to utilize that and have additional cars out, as you will see pretty much across the board with all law enforcement.”

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