SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- Sammamish Police call it a scary and sobering statistic: 40 percent of the DUI arrests in their city involve people under the age of 21.

Now, they're trying to raise awareness to get those numbers down, and save lives in the process.

We're hoping to prevent a tragedy by doing this, and to really tackle and address the issue before something tragic happens, said Sergeant Jessica Sullivan with the Sammamish Police Department.

In the last three years, she says, the city has averaged 20 underage DUI arrests per year.

About half of them involved alcohol, and the other half involved drugs.

Still, Sullivan says Sammamish's numbers are drastically higher than that of surrounding jurisdictions, that are reporting about 10 percent of their DUI arrests as underage.

Wednesday marked the third in a series of community meetings aimed at addressing the problem.

Sullivan made a presentation to a packed room that included parents, educators, and even the mayor.

Then, the crowd broke down into smaller groups to brainstorm theories as to why this is happening in their hometown.

Is it because it's an affluent city and almost every teen in Sammamish has a car? That's one theory being floated around.

Another theory is that there's not much for teens to do there, and they're just bored.

KING 5 spoke to several Sammamish teens, who say they're not at all surprised by the numbers.

I think it's just that kids have access to it here, said 17-year-old Evan Green. Like almost every kid I know has an older brother or someone who has the ability to buy alcohol.

Others say it's just a part of the culture that they live in.

I feel like a tragedy would wake people up for a bit, but in the end, you have to have a lasting impact, right? said 16-year-old Richard Baron.

That's what Sammamish Police are looking for--a long term solution.

One parent suggested that kids be educated about the dangers of drinking and driving as early as elementary school.

Sullivan says they'll use all of that feedback as a plan of attack is developed, moving forward.

Kids don't necessarily see or understand the consequences that come with impaired driving, said Sullivan.

With prom season quickly approaching, she says now is the time to take action.

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