Drunken driving arrests down by half in March, FHP says

VIDEO: FL DUI arrests down amid coronavirus pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. — With a stay-at-home order in effect in Orange and Osceola counties and all other Central Floridians urged to social distance, the Florida Highway Patrol said troopers have seen a drastic reduction in drunken driving arrests.

Bars in Florida were shut down prior to St. Patrick’s Day, which may have helped, Lt. Kim Montes said.

“I was very surprised,” Montes said. “We have seen more than a half reduction in the FHPs arrests for DUI compared to the same time last year and even 2018.”

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She said that traditionally, March is one of the worst months for crashes on the roadways, and for DUIs.

In 2019 and 2018, that number was more than 30 each year.

But in 2020, that number was cut in half.

“We believe people are staying home,” Montes said. “If they are consuming alcohol, they're staying in a place where they don't get behind the wheel.”

FHP crash statistics show that troopers have also investigated one-third fewer crashes in the last two weeks, and those crashes resulted in about half as many fatalities.

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Video: Florida bars, nightclubs closed for 30 days to help stop spread of coronavirus, liquor stores see increased business