Evanston police last year made more drunk driving arrests than in any year since 2003.

The upsurge in arrests last year followed several slack years when Evanston police arrested substantially fewer motorists for driving under the influence compared to police in two nearby communities of similar size, Arlington Heights and Skokie.

Evanston’s DUI arrest rate has varied wildly in the past decade, from 77 in 2001 to 257 in 2003.

For that period Evanston has averaged 174 drunk driving arrests a year compared to 199 in Arlington Heights and 230 in Skokie.

Figures for drunk driving arrests across Illinois are published by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, a group founded by relatives of people killed in drunk driving accidents.

Police Chief Richard Eddington, in a news release, said his department “has made a renewed commitment” to traffic safety enforcement because “too many people continue to suffer devastating injuries and loss of loved ones when people drive impaired.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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