STATE NEWS: Impaired driving arrests down during pandemic

(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)

According to the Washington State Patrol, driving under the influence arrests have dropped by 46 percent during March, April and May of this year compared to 2019. Troopers made 2,110 DUI arrests in the state as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, compared to 3,877 arrests last spring. In Oregon, DUI arrests fell 13 percent during the first three months of the pandemic, the Northwest News Network reports.  

Many law enforcement officers attribute this to bars and taverns closing, and people staying home more.

Chelan County saw a 69 percent drop in DUI arrests during March through May. Overall, highway traffic was 63 percent below normal in Washington during the pandemic.

But… alcohol and marijuana sales increased. Retail data shows that both alcohol and marijuana flew off the shelves according to official sources. Alcohol sales for the past three months have grown 27 percent, while spirit (hard alcohol) have seen sales increase by 32 percent. Wine sales increased 26 percent and beer sales are up 17 percent from the same three month period in the spring for 2019.

Marijuana sales in Washington saw its strongest month of cannabis sales in state history in April. Marijuana sales eclipsed $106 million.