The holiday season often is considered a time to be weary of drunken drivers while traveling.
Yet, according to local law enforcement agencies, the number of DWI arrests were minimal, not only between Christmas and New Years but for the year as a whole.
Lt. Ryan Turner, a spokesman for the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, said compared to the past two years, there was a “dramatic” decrease in the number of DWI arrests made in Iberia Parish.
Although more DWI arrests were made this holiday season — three between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1, as compared to one during the same period last year — a year-to-year comparison reflects a much different outcome.
Turner said 176 DWI arrests were made in 2009, but in 2010, the number dropped to 95 — a decrease of 46 percent.
“We’d like to think it’s because of officer presence,” Turner said. “It’s hard to say. We haven’t decreased patrols. We’re still active.”
St. Mary Parish had similar results, said John Sonnier, a St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
In 2009, Sonnier said 92 DWI arrests were made, but that figure dropped 42 percent in 2010 to 53 DWI arrests.
Also similar to Iberia Parish was the amount of people booked for DWIs during the holiday season.
Sonnier said no arrests were made last year between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1 and one arrest was made this year during that period.
For St. Martin Parish the numbers remained about the same over the past two years, said Maj. Ginny Higgins, a spokeswoman for the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Higgins said the number of DWIs only dropped by one between 2009 and 2010, going from 33 to 32.
Like St. Mary Parish, Higgins said only one DWI arrest made in St. Martin Parish this year during the holidays, while no arrests were made during the same period last year.
State Police reported DWIs in the Troop I area, which includes Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes, dropped by 24 percent.
There were 1,860 DWIs in 2009, compared to 1,408 DWI arrests in 2010, said Trooper Stephen Hammons, Troop I spokesman.
Hammons said that between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1 there were 32 DWI arrests in Troop I, compared to 55 DWIs reported during the same period a year ago.