Ten grand. That’s what it costs a first-time DUI offender in fines, legal fees and insurance costs, the Arizona Governor’s Office for Highway Safety estimates. Meanwhile, DUI arrests are declining even as enforcement increases. Last month, GOHS funneled more than $300,000 in federal funds to agencies that combat drunk driving. The money will go to …
… AZ Department of Public Safety to help troopers catch drunk drivers, and to purchase portable DUI test equipment.
… Phoenix Police to stage saturation patrols and train officers “to solely conduct DUI enforcement.”
… Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for enforcement and DUI-recognition training.
GOHS Director Alberto Gutier credits the decline in DUI arrests to enforcement, messaging and, he told In&Out: “I’m going to give credit to more responsible people.”
Increasingly at DUI checkpoints, officials encounter this scenario: A sober designated driver and “two drunks in the back seat,” Gutier said. And more drinkers are using Uber and other car services, he said.
Several agencies will cooperate to increase holiday enforcement. Phoenix Police will deploy “numerous Holiday Taskforce DUI Enforcement programs” looking for impaired drivers. MCSO will help set up checkpoints “throughout the county” in a “concentrated effort,” said MCSO spokesperson Mark Casey.
“Do not drive after drinking,” Casey said. “If you are driving under the influence, you will be arrested and prosecuted.”
Sheriff Paul Penzone implored his deputies and all residents to lead by example, by “having the courage to turn to your loved ones, your friends, when you know they’re making a bad decision that will lead to a bad behavior, and saying that it’s unacceptable, and stepping in and stopping it from occurring.”