Furlong: ‘This is too much’ … Carson City DUI arrests up 50% this year
The Carson City Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on drivers because of a large spike in DUI arrests and traffic accidents across the city.
A Carson City Sheriff’s deputy was hit by an alleged drunk driver Sunday morning, prompting the change in the department for how they will utilize their patrolman to decrease the number of DUIs and accidents.
“As a result of Sunday’s incident, we did a review of the current posture of traffic accidents and DUI enforcement,” said Sheriff Ken Furlong.
The number of DUI arrested have increased 35 percent from the first four months of 2015 and 54 percent since the same period of 2016. So far this year, 97 DUI arrests have occurred through April. Non injury accidents have increased 28 percent since 2015 and 22 percent since 2016, with the total number so far this year at 138 through April. Injury accidents have decreased since last year with only 37 injury accidents as of April, compared to 39 accidents at the same time last year.
“We are happy the injury accident numbers are down; however, the injury accidents and DUIs are sky rocketing,” Furlong said. “After we discussed the options available, we elected to do heavy targeted enforcement in the problem areas.”
These accidents are most prevalent around Highway 50, College Parkway and North Carson Street, despite official’s efforts to educate the public and prevent such occurrences.
Because of this, Furlong said his men have been instructed to increase their enforcement in those high accident areas.
“It is important for everyone to understand that while injury accidents are down, the sheer volume of accidents elevates the likelihood of greater injuries,” Furlong said.
To to this, officials decided the best tactic was to take one of the patrol deputies from their regular assignment to focus strictly on traffic in those high-accident areas.
“We haven’t made this big of a move since 2010 when budget cuts put a traffic unit on second priority,” Furlong said.
The challenge, Furlong said, is response time for calls for service may rise, as there will only be about four deputies on duty to handle regular calls.
Furlong hopes though increase in enforcement will help reduce accidents and get drivers to pay attention — especially before the summer season hits when road activity will increase significantly.
“As we saw Saturday night, for every accident that occurs, someone becomes an unintended victim often needing treatment, suffering from a loss of transportation and economic distress,” Furlong said. “Our intention is to reduce that possibility. It is our responsibility to do something about the problem.
“It is essential that party-goers realize all businesses and bars in Carson are more than gracious enough to get you a cab so there is no reason to drive intoxicated,” he said.
Furlong said they have been fortunate so far this year that no major accidents have occurred.
“This is too much,” Furlong said. “People need to realize that each accident is a higher probability for someone to get hurt.”