BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern officials and community members were awarded at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Awards Thursday for their work in the fight against DUIs across Kern County.

At the event, Deputy District Attorney Tara Deal was named Prosecutor of the Year for her work prosecuting multiple DUIs.

“We have one of the highest rates of DUIs unfortunately, and it just seems to continue to go up and just as an example I know our case load since 2020 has tripled in number, especially the fatals,” Deal said.

According to the Bakersfield Police Department, officers made 847 DUI arrests within city limits in 2022. CHP officers made 1,371 DUI arrests during the same time.

California Highway Patrol’s Aaron Maurer said those numbers come from people not using resources like ridesharing, or a designated driver.

“There are resources that people can take advantage of in the community, but people just don’t do it instead they choose to be selfish, drink and drive, become impaired and put everyone’s lives in danger,” Maurer said.

According to Deal, most of the offenders she sees have been arrested for a DUI before.

“A lot of these individuals are repeat offenders,” Deal said. “They have prior DUI convictions and, in any instance, where we see that we do go for the second-degree murder charge.”

But the biggest take away for Maurer was the event recognizing the effort made by those in the community hoping to change these numbers.

“It’s just tremendous and it just picks up everyone’s spirits and let’s everyone know that the work that’s being done is appreciated and to continue and even work harder,” Maurer said.

Organizers of MADD will also host a 5k Walk and Run fundraising event on Sept. 23.