DWI arrests are declining in Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - DWI arrests are down in Wichita Falls. Only 5 arrests were made over St. Patrick's Day weekend. The fall in DWIs could be due to multiple reasons.

Between January 1 and March 19 in 2016 there were 39 DWI arrests. In 2017 there were 38. This year there are 25.

Sgt. Harold McClure feels people may just be getting smarter. He says, "I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that people know just how important it is not to get behind the wheel."

Another reason DWIs may be down is because of ridesharing. Both Uber and Lyft came to Wichita Falls just last summer, but they could already be making a difference in how people get around when they are out on the weekends.

According to Uber's operations and logistics team, 4 of the top 10 destinations on St. Patrick's Day in Wichita Falls were bars and restaurants.

MSU Student Kari Bell uses rideshare apps mostly for shopping and going out to eat but thinks it would also be a good alternative to a designated driver. She said, "if you can't really find anyone and everyone wants to have fun and drink that would be the best option instead of putting yourself in danger. That's a whole lot cheaper than a ticket, or a DWI, or something else."

In a study Uber conducted in 2016, 90% of riders said that they felt Uber reduces drunk driving. 80% felt that it personally helps them avoid drinking and driving.

Sgt. McClure also said, "having a sober driver – whether it is a taxi driver, whether it is a ride share, whether it is a friend or designated driver – I think people are getting the word and are getting the message that if I am going to go out I need a sober driver."

Sgt. McClure also feels police presence at celebrations like this past weekend St. Patrick's Day Festival, encourages people to make smart decisions.

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