Leading up to the Labor Day weekend, there were numerous reports of the activities of the DUI task forces, including setting up checkpoints all over the Phoenix area. They included checkpoints not only in Phoenix, but also in Tempe, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and throughout the valley. When it was put into practice, this amounted to more than 7,500 vehicle stops statewide during the holiday weekend. So how did Arizona fare in the battle against drunk driving? Reasonably well, as it turns out.
The drunk driving problem in a particular state is measured in different ways. Typically, the measurement involves DUI incidents per 1,000 population, or the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths per 100,000 people. Some of the statistics are based on police reports, and others on surveys of drivers. Several years ago, at least one group (MADD) reported that Phoenix ranked as number 10 for the cities with the highest number of drunk drivers. But overall, Arizona doesn’t find itself among the states with worst DUI problems. Of course, that doesn’t mean that things in the world of drunk driving are great here, only that relatively speaking, we’re not as bad as many other states. Which brings us to the stats for Labor Day weekend.
On the plus side, DUI arrests for the entire state this Labor Day weekend were down by close to 20 percent. Four hundred fifty drivers were arrested for DUI, compared to 549 in 2014. On a category-by-category basis, this year also marked a decrease in the number of arrests for misdemeanor DUI, aggravated DUI, as well as extreme DUI.
But all the news is not good. The number of repeat offenders arrested for DUI during the weekend was up. When you consider that fact, you may not be surprised that the average blood alcohol content of the drivers arrested was also up; the average BAC stood at .153, compared to .145 last year. This actually places the average BAC at the level for extreme DUI.
Getting back to the overall numbers, the decrease in the incidence of DUI arrests is significant, especially considering the fact that the DUI crackdown over Labor Day involved the efforts of almost 2,000 members of law enforcement. Incidentally, the task forces also handed out thousands of tickets for violations other than drunk driving.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004