LPD: DUI numbers on the decline - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

LPD: DUI numbers on the decline

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By: Brittany Paris
bparis@klkntv.com

You're probably seeing them more and more throughout Lincoln. Taxis. And they could help fix a potentially fatal problem.

In the past year, drunken driving has fallen 28 percent. Officers say they made 134 DUI arrests in 2013. The year before, 186 people were arrested.

But what's helping those who drink put down their keys?

Officers say it's probably a few things. Their recent, "You Drink & Drive, You Lose," campaign helped get 78 impaired drivers off the road.

And more cabs in the Capital City are helping people avoid driving drunk.

"I think it's making a difference because if you go down to 14th and O Street, you will wind up seeing citizens using the taxi cabs down there," Chief Jim Peschong, Lincoln Police Department, said."

Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD, says they've noticed more awareness.

"We used to get a lot of calls complaining about the taxi cab service. We're getting less complaints about alternative transportation, and so that's great that Lincoln is finally becoming a little more proactive in providing safer transportation for those who do go out and consume alcohol," Andrea Frazier, Program Manager, MADD, said.

And taxi companies say people are using cabs more often. They say they understand it's difficult to grab a cab, especially during Husker games. And when people have to wait hours  for a ride, they're probably not going to.

Happy Cab developed an app with the hope of eliminating that problem. It's called NexTaxi and it's free.

"For a lot of people, when you're downtown, you don't know exactly where you are or you don't have an exact address," Rachel Wade, Happy Cab Lincoln Manager, said. "All you have to do is hit on this app and it says find me. And it will locate where you are. You put in where you want to go and we locate a cab for you."

But while DUI numbers are down, MADD says drunk driving is still a problem.

The average blood alcohol content in Lincoln in 2013 was .15. And the youngest person caught driving impaired was 16.

"Remember that drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. Not only are people killed, they're injured," Frazier said.

Lincoln police say they hope the numbers continue to go down in 2014.

On New Year's Eve, they had 6 DUI arrests, up just one from last year. But that is progress, in 2011, there were 29 New Year's Eve DUI's.

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