Alcohol-related traffic incidents in Destin fell 33 percent for fiscal year 2014 because of the help of a $50,000 federal grant, “Drive Sober in Destin,” secured by the City of Destin and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
This grant partnership between the city and the sheriff’s office is part of a larger, ongoing partnership with a goal to provide safe roadways for Destin residents and visitors.
“It is very rewarding that this initiative was so successful in reducing alcohol-related incidents in our city,” said Destin Mayor Mel Ponder. “What is also encouraging is that, based on the statistics from the initiative, other crimes and offenses were discovered which help in reducing a broad spectrum of crime. We look forward to continuing this effort with the sheriff’s office.”
The goal of this grant was to reduce alcohol-related incidents in Destin by 5 percent from the previous year. The 33 percent decrease seen in fiscal year 2014 far exceeded expectations. The grant funded public education and awareness, DUI safety checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols and low man DUI patrols in the community.
Statistics from the grant-funded initiative include:
• 1,191 traffic stops
• 79 DUIs
• 99 speeding citations
• 24 seatbelt citations
• 17 open container citations
• 23 narcotics arrests
• 44 other citations
• 856 warnings for traffic-related incidents
“Drunk drivers have no right to be on our roadways jeopardizing public safety or the quality of life in Destin,” said Sheriff Larry Ashley. “We should all applaud the results of this successful partnership. We also encourage citizens to continue to help us crack down on the menace posed by drunk drivers by reporting any signs of impaired driving.”
In addition to the DUI-funded patrols, the sheriff’s office conducted traffic safety presentations to Air Force and Navy personnel stationed at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field. News releases were posted through print and social media and message boards were used along Hwy. 98 in Destin.
The city and the sheriff’s office have received a grant for $75,000 for fiscal year 2015 to continue the “Drive Sober in Destin” initiative.