Beginning on Nov. 24 of last year, the Arizona Holiday DUI Task Force conducted more than 55,000 traffic stops in their search for drivers who had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. As a result more than 3,200 drivers were found to be drunk behind the wheel and were arrested.
This is good news for Arizona defensive drivers who know better than to drink and drive, and bad news for the ones who don’t. In Arizona first time drunk drivers will pay hefty fines including the costs for installing and maintaining an interlock device on their automobile. The interlock device requires the driver to self-administer a breathalyzer test before the engine will start. The devices cost a couple hundred dollars and have a monthly maintenance fee of almost $100. First-time drunk drivers are required to use the devices for a minimum of six months.
On New Year’s Eve alone officers from 70 different departments around the state participated in a statewide crackdown on drunk drivers resulting in dozens of drunk driving arrests. The state also spent more than $1 million on six new DUI-processing vehicles for use out in the field. In the DUI-processing vehicles, drivers suspected of being under the influence can take a breathalyzer test, provide a blood sample or receive an examination from a DUI-expert. All of this extra effort is meant to show that Arizona definitely has a zero-tolerance plan for combating drunk driving.
In 2010 Arizona had 581 drunk-driving related accidents with 33 fatalities as a result. Their DUI enforcement procedures in that same year result in the arrest of more than 18,000 drivers who were under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel.
No doubt the officers who participated in the 2011 Arizona Holiday DUI Task Force were thinking about this number as they were on patrol, many hoping they could at least bring the number down by one for this year.
Results of the 2011 Arizona Holiday DUI Task Force will not be calculated for at least a few more weeks. No matter what they are defensive drivers can rest easy knowing every time they get behind they are fully in control of their faculties, as they should be.
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