February 25, 2011
Wichita Police say an increase in fatal accidents involving drunk drivers has them cracking down on DUI offenders.
This year, the number of DUI arrests is already more than 25% higher than in January and February of last year, and police say they expect the trend to continue.
Taylor Moody is the general manager at Guardian Interlock, a company that provides and installs breathalyzer devices into cars. But for Moody, the devices are more than just how he makes a living, they're also helping prevent others from the tragedies he has suffered. Moody lost his father to a drunk driver when he was just 15 years old.
"It seemed like the end of the world. You know, that's something that stays with you for the rest of your life," said Moody.
If that wasn't enough, Moody himself was seriously injured when a drunk driver hit his car, forcing him into a telephone pole.
"[The] shock kind of hits you pretty quick, it's a bad situation to be in," said Moody.
But instead of helping catch drunk drivers with the interlock devices, Moody says he's trying to help cure them.
That's what police say they're trying to do as well, with a steady increase in arrests. In January of 2009, Wichita Police issued tickets for 133 DUI offenses. In January 2010 it was 145, this year, the department cited 192 DUI's.
"It's not a secret, we're not out there to trap anybody. We want them to know that we're watching in hopes that they will think twice before getting into a vehicle and driving while intoxicated," said Wichita Police Lt. Joe Schroeder.
Police say they hope the consequences will eventually mean fewer arrests in the future, as they hope an increased emphasis on enforcement now will lead to less drunk driving down the road.
Police also say a new state law is contributing to the increase in DUI offenses. The law requires mandatory blood tests of everyone involved in an accident, if there is a serious injury or death. The legislation went into effect last year.