SALT LAKE CITY -- The youngest drunken driver arrested in Utah last year was 15 years old. The most tipsy driver picked up had a blood-alcohol content five times the legal limit. Most of the drunks on the road -- 75 percent -- were men.
Those were some of the statistics from fiscal year 2009-10 presented Wednesday to state lawmakers by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
Weber and Davis counties were among the top five counties in which drunken drivers were pulled over and ticketed. Together the two counties accounted for 16 percent of all the arrests in the state for that year. Salt Lake County was first on the list and contributed 44 percent of the DUI arrests.
Commission Director Mary Lou Emerson told legislators that drunken driving arrests did decrease in the state during the fiscal year, but there also were concerns about the possible reasons behind the numbers decline.
"It may be related to manpower shortage," Emerson said.
Lawmakers and others at the meeting of the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee voiced concern about cuts in police personnel and the possible impact on departments throughout the state.
The report notes there were 15,285 driving-under-the-influence arrests in FY2010, 398 fewer than the year before.
Sen. Jon Greiner, who is also the Ogden police chief, said his city has seen a similar drop in alcohol-related arrests.
"I have not changed my staffing on this, but my numbers are going down," said Greiner, who could not explain the drop.
In the report, Davis County had 1,355 DUI arrests, while Weber County had 1,233 arrests.
Most of the decrease came in arrests made by local police, while Utah Highway Patrol made 1,100 more arrests than the previous year.
UHP Supt. Daniel Fuhr told committee members he aimed his agency's effort during the year at making the arrests, including the use of overtime dollars.
"Drunks are out there -- they aren't hard to find," said Fuhr.
There were 31 DUI- related fatalities in calendar year 2009, three fewer than in 2008. Utah had the lowest rate of DUI-related fatalities in the nation, about half of the national average.