It would only make sense for the drunk driving numbers to go down during a time when everyone is supposed to be in the house, aside from essential workers. The numbers of crashes decreased some but not in the manner one could hope for.

Due to uncharted territory we have experienced from a local level to globally, law enforcement faced a new threat.  Alcohol sales in Texas increased nearly 300% by the first week of April.  With law enforcement airing on the side of caution, it did not take long for the communities to figure out they were taking a more reactive stance than a proactive stance.  Plano Police Department says this in turn increased DWI crashes. 

Irving PD

Irving Police Department said there were 112 DWI arrests last year between the beginning of the third week in March until the first weekend in May.

Sgt. Howard from the Irving PD-DWI Unit said, “Looks like about 107 over the same period this year. March arrests were way down this year compared to last year by 28%, a lot of which no doubt is due to the cancellation of most St. Patrick’s day and spring break activities.

However, the number of arrests in April 2020 were up 16% over last year and Sgt. Howard stated the arrests haven’t been down as much as we all expected.

Irving PD

Additionally, there has been a huge uptick in arrests on Weekdays and during the daytime and evening hours between 9AM and midnight. Last year for example about 29% of DWI arrests in Irving occurred Monday through Thursday. During COVID-19 it has been 42%. Similarly, last year 43% of DWI arrests occurred between 9 AM and midnight, but during COVID-19 it has been 62%.

“I would say that bars and restaurants being closed has changed when and where people drive drunk, but it hasn’t significantly stopped people from driving drunk…at least in our experience.”With the stay at home orders in place and the decrease in roadway traffic, law enforcement aired on the side of caution. 

Sgt. Howard of the Irving Police Department

With the stay at home orders in place and the decrease in roadway traffic, law enforcement aired on the side of caution. 

No one saw the repercussions of the stay at home order.  Increased domestic violence, sexual assaults, and other crimes involving intoxicated persons would grow expeditiously.  With the community staying home and having the time to consume alcoholic beverages, the probability of DWIs increased. 

Patrol Corporal Gabby Williams – Wylie PD
Southlake PD

David Tilley PIO for Plano PD said during the month of March, they had 41 alcohol related crashes, which was down 10% and one alcohol related fatality.  up to the end of March, we have made 175 DWI/DUI arrests for the year.  That is down 20.5% from this time last year.  Keep in mind that Minor DUI citations are included in the DUI/DWI arrest totals.up to the end of March, we have made 175 DWI/DUI arrests for the year.  That is down 20.5% from this time last year.  Keep in mind that Minor DUI citations are included in the DUI/DWI arrest totals.

“Up to the end of March, we have made 175 DWI/DUI arrests for the year.  That is down 20.5% from this time last year.  Keep in mind that Minor DUI citations are included in the DUI/DWI arrest totals.”

David Tilley, POI Plano PD

As we near the end of this situation, officers state the reactive approach is coming to an end and proactive approach will increase, hopefully detailing the rising numbers in DWI behavior.