Drunk Driving Arrests on Rise in Valdosta

By Ben Wolf
Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Hitting the road after catching a buzz can be a potentially deadly combination. In Valdosta police arrested nearly 40 percent more drunk drivers in '06 compared to '05.

"There's a significant increase. We made more arrests, we've been more active on patrol, we've been stopping more vehicles," said LT Bernard Robinson.

Some of the 256 drunk drivers in the last year may have spent some time in what officers call the bat-mobile, a DUI trailer operated by a generator.

"This unit allows us to come out with the Intox 5,000, actually do breathe alcohol testing on the side of the road. This alleviates the problem of having to back and forth to the jail," said OFC Alex Adair.

That's because those caught get to spend some time in the trailer's cell.

Police officers say it's simple. An increase in population is putting more drunk drivers in the back seat of police cars.

"The amount of college students increased. The population of Lowndes County-Valdosta is growing steadily. We are sort of becoming a hub for local areas," said Adair.

Officials hope the increase in arrests sends a message to the community.

"If you decide to drive DUI you will be apprehended, you will be arrested. It will not be tolerated," said Robinson.

That's a serious message. Just ask the 256 people in 2006 that found out the hard way.

Valdosta police officials say they are going to be even more aggressive in 2007 when it comes to cracking down on drunk driving.