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DUI cases drop 50% in San Diego County amid stay-at-home order

Last year at this time the number of cases in the county were 1074. This year they're at 529.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — One side effect of the coronavirus pandemic is there are fewer cars on the roads and there have also been fewer cases of DUIs.

New numbers from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office show a significant decrease in the number of people drinking and driving.

In 2020 the number of cases submitted for March and April were 529. Last year they were 1074. In 2018, they were 1208.

Credit: SD County District Attorney's Office

"Of course the numbers are going to be down, people are supposed to be staying home. But I was surprised the numbers weren't even lower," said Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.

Bright handles DUI homicide cases in San Diego County.

"The problem comes when people don't really know how much they're consuming," she said. 

Just last weekend, a 26-year-old woman behind the wheel of a Kia Optima was arrested for DUI after crashing into a Lincoln Town Car on Interstate 15 near Interstate 8, killing the driver, and severely injuring the passenger.

However, with fewer cars on the roads, drivers who are breaking the law stick out like a sore thumb.

The CHP says before the pandemic, DUI arrests typically happened at night or in the early morning hours. Now they're happening during the daytime hours as well.

"If you need to have a cocktail party to meet with your friends, use Zoom," said Bright. "That way nobody is being put at risk by being on the roadways after consuming alcohol."

According to the CHP, statewide the number of DUI arrests are down as well. Public Information Officer Salvador Castro said last year at this time, the number of DUI arrests were about 7,224. This year the number is 4,223.

RELATED: Turning to booze during the stay-at-home order? You're not alone

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