State, local and federal law enforcement officials are again banding together for a common purpose: to rid the state of impaired driving between now and the end of the year. It’s the annual Arizona DUI enforcement campaign launch.
Yesterday these officials gathered at the state Capitol to officially announce the launch. The campaigns involve both enforcement and sober driving education.
There’s a reason there are two campaigns and not one. Drunk driving is, as Col. Frank Milstead of the Arizona Department of Public Safety noted at the launch, drunk driving is a social as well as a law enforcement problem, and any efforts to reduce it will have to tackle both. Arizona’s campaign will do that.
To catch impaired drivers that are already on the road, Arizona DUI task forces will be deployed across the state. Last year more than 25,000 impaired drivers were taken off Arizona’s roads. During the last holiday season alone the Task Force’s arrests numbered in the hundreds.
To stop drunk driving before it starts – addressing the social problem – the Campaign will be publicizing designated drivers and other alternate sources of transportation for people who have been drinking.
Almost 300 people died last year in alcohol-related crashes on Arizona’s roads. This despite the state having some of the country’s strictest anti-DUI laws.
One of the reasons that the deaths continue is that enforcement can always improve. Another is that too many people are under the impression that they’re “all right to drive” even though they have had too much to drink. They need to be educated in how alcohol affects their driving abilities, and how much of a danger they are to themselves and others on the roads. And they need to find another way home once they’ve seen the light.
Arizona’s police agencies will be fighting on both fronts this December. Everyone is welcome to take up arms against drunk driving and make the state’s roads safer.