by Deanna Darr
As part of BPD’s holiday DUI crackdown, officers will be staking out the corner of Sixth and Main streets and offering free breathalyzer tests (that’s right, you don’t have to pay to blow in the tube) from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19.
The tests are part of the kickoff of the department’s anti-drunk driving initiative that will put extra patrols on the street through New Year’s Day, paid for in part by a grant from the Idaho Transportation Department.
Along with the extra eyes on the streets, BPD released a laundry list of statistics, including the fact that BPD officers made 1,942 DUI arrests between January and Nov. 8 this year. Of those arrests, 68 percent were men, 32 percent were women and 26 percent of all those arrested were people in their 30s. The next closest age group in the drunk-driver hall of shame is the 40s, with 18 percent of arrests, while those in their 50s and 20s tied with 7 percent each.
And while more people in their 30s get busted, those in their 20s are far more schnockered. A whopping 58 percent of 20-somethings arrested for DUI blow a .20 or greater. This dubious distinction means felony charges for enhanced DUI. The average result of a breathalyzer test in Boise is a .159, twice the legal limit of .08.
Of those DUIs that end up in the Boise City Attorney’s Office, 94 percent plead guilty, while 3 percent have charges reduced and only 1.8 percent have charges dismissed. Finally, just 1 percent are found guilty after a jury trial, and one-half of 1 percent do not have charges filed or are acquitted.
BPD keeps careful track of the numbers of DUI arrests each officer makes, and leading the charge among the Night STEP team is Officer Mike Ruffalo with 234 arrests, followed by Officer Casey Hancuff with 199, and Officer Larry Moore with 190.
So, what lessons can you learn from all these stats? 1) Don’t drink and drive. 2) If you’re curious about your limit, join the breathalyzer fun on Saturday night. 3) Designated drivers are true friends. 4) If you do drink, pray you don’t run into Officer Ruffalo. 5) Keep the number of a cab company in your pocket. 6) Just don’t drink and drive.