The Mendham Township Police have recorded a more than 200 percent spike in DWI arrests since 2010, according to Lt. Vito Abrusci.
The data shows that the MTPD made 87 DWI arrests in 2012, up from 56 in 2011 and 41 in 2010. According to Abrusci, there are multiple factors behind the steep year over year increase.
“There is no simple explanation for the increase, however in tougher economical times individuals tend to consume more alcohol to deal with financial difficulties and stress,” Abrusci said.
But the numbers more than doubling in the past two years may have to do with a change in enforcement as well, Abrusci said.
“I also credit better trained officers that are more aware of impaired individuals,” Abrusci said. “Not only from alcohol but also from any substance.”
Abrusci is one of several drug recognition experts (DRE) employed by the Mendham Township Police. This specialized training allows officers to spot impaired drivers who may be a danger behind the wheel. In 2012, 18 of the 87 arrests stemmed from DRE evaluations. That is up from 12 in 2011 and six in 2010.
Abrusci is now a certified DRE instructor and takes the threat of drunk and drugged drivers very seriously.
“The Mendham Township Police Department takes impaired driving very seriously and takes a diligent stand on making the roadways safer for all our drivers,” Abrusci said. “The offenders cannot be narrowed down by gender or age, as we see all types violators that make the poor decision to get behind the wheel when they are impaired.”
Abrusci said that the department is well aware of the increase in the number of people that have been arrested and it is a concern.
“These individuals are putting innocent people at risk every time they get behind the wheel,” Abrusci said. “We will continue to aggressively protect the motorists that travel our roadways as we set forth our annual goal to not have any innocent people hurt by impaired drivers.”
Tell us: Do these numbers concern you? What do you think is the reason for the dramatic increase?