Arlington Police Extend Crackdown on Drunken Driving

Two months into a crackdown on drunken driving, Arlington police say arrests are up, but alcohol-related crashes have not declined.

Police announced Monday they are extending a program aimed at reducing drunken driving. The program has so far resulted in a 38 percent increase in public intoxication arrests.

But traffic-related fatalities have continued to spike in Arlington.

Police spokeswoman Tiara Ellis said the numbers are disturbing: 10 people have died on the city's roadways so far this year, compared to 28 people in all of 2008.

Half of this year's traffic fatalities were at the hands of drivers suspected of drunken driving.

"We are getting aggressive and taking proactive steps to stop this recent spike," Ellis said.

She said officers will run radar, especially in areas that have previously seen crashes.

Police are also staking out the parking lots of local bars and arresting people who are intoxicated before they get behind the wheel.

Officers say bar owners' cooperation is key. Randy Ford, the owner of J. Gilligan's, said he is happy to have the increased police presence.

"It's something that has to happen," he said. "People need to be responsible. If that takes cops coming in here, than so be it." 

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