DWI arrests during Fiesta down compared to recent years, SAPD says

DWI arrests have gone down annually since 2018, data shows

San Antonio police arrested less people for DWI offenses during Fiesta 2022 than in recent years, according to statistics released by the department on Tuesday.

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police arrested less people for DWI offenses during Fiesta 2022 than in recent years, according to statistics released by the department on Tuesday.

Each year, SAPD puts out the number of DWI arrests that occurred during Fiesta time periods, which occurred this year between March 31 and April 10. Police say the data does not necessarily reflect whether the motorist was driving after attending a Fiesta event.

In 2022, police said they arrested 129 people for DWI during Fiesta, the lowest number over the past four years, though the citywide party was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers have been steadily declining since at least 2018, when 227 DWI arrests were reported during Fiesta.

Each year, San Antonio police step up DWI enforcement efforts during Fiesta.

“We have all the officers out in full force,” Lt. Michelle Ramos previously told KSAT. “As you know, we’ve been to some of these events, and you see officers at every corner.”

Besides the reduction in arrests, police also reported that there was not a Fiesta-related traffic fatality, continuing an 11-year streak.

Even though this year’s statistics continue a downward trend for DWI arrests during Fiesta, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said it’s still too many.

“Our population basically doubles in our city because of the festivities so I know there’s going to be certain events where there’s more people,” said Jackie Ipina, MADD State Program Manager.

Ipina said drunk driving is still an issue in San Antonio and that’s been reflected with some early 2022 numbers.

“Before Fiesta started, we already had over 100 arrests for the year, and so many people have gotten hurt or killed,” said Ipina.

With COVID on the decline, MADD is concerned about seeing DWI arrest numbers in Bexar County similar to pre-pandemic levels.

“Last year we had over 4,000 arrests. In 2020, we had over 5,000 arrests. We were in a pandemic, but in the past, it’s been 6,000 to 7,000 arrests every year,” said Ipina. “So, the numbers have gone down, but people are still getting hurt. People are still getting killed. People are still getting arrested.”

Ipina said MADD just wants people to be take action before they go out whether it’s designating a sober driver, using a ride share or a car service.

“I want people to plan ahead all year long, not just the large events. It’s something that we need to take into consideration all year long just the way we’re planning our perfect outfits or where we’re going to go or what event we’re going to do,” said Ipina.

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