Over the past year there have been increases in population and revenue throughout western North Dakota.
Another increase that may not be as welcome is the number of arrests for driving under the influence.
Gary Brode reports on the effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.
(Gary Brode, KXMC Reporter) "It's here where 647 citizens of Minot and Williston have found themselves due to DUI arrests."
(Cpt. Gary Orluck, State Highway Patrol) "Our numbers are up dramatically even though our number of available officers to make those arrests are down, so it is a concern."
While many associate D.U.I. checkpoints as a way to crackdown on drunken drivers for the night, Captain Orluck believes the checkpoints work towards the ultimate goal of keeping the roads as free as possible of impaired drivers.
(Cpt. Gary Orluck, State Highway Patrol) "A DUI checkpoint is more of a public awareness, don't drink and drive you may get stopped at a check point. We still continue to do those even though our man power is less. Were going to do the same amount of checkpoints, same amount of safety talks going into the school. That's a very high priority is to educate people.
Drunk drivers be warned, officers are on the lookout night and day for you.
(Cpt. Gary Orluck, State Highway Patrol) "We've made several arrests during the day over the last month. (Does that surprise you?) It is surprising. I don't have any hard facts as far as percentages but I do know I am hearing about it more and more."
Under current North Dakota law, 1st time offenders face up to 180 days license suspension and a minimum fine of $250. However, with a 26% increase in D.U.I.'s over the last year, Cpt Orluck feels there needs to be tougher laws in order to deter drunken drivers.
(Cpt. Gary Orluck, State Highway Patrol) "I'm one that's a strong proponent of a stronger DUI law. I've been in law enforcement for 27 years and really the sanctions haven't changed. So the time is now."
Cpt Orluck may get his wish. A bill is expected in front of the Legislature to toughen DUI laws. The proposal would make North Dakota one of 15 states to require jail time for first time offenders.
The bill is expected to be presented at the legislature this month.