Arizona Public-Safety Officials to Kick Off Holiday DUI Campaign at State Capitol

Public-safety officials from around the state will kick off an annual DUI campaign at the State Capitol on Tuesday in hopes of reducing carnage on the roads this holiday season.

Led by Alberto Gutier, director of the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety, officials scheduled to appear on the Capitol Mall at 11 a.m. Tuesday include Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead, Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, numerous other police and fire chiefs, and representatives of MADD and the ride-sharing firm Uber.

You may have noticed the extra patrols that began during the Thanksgiving Day holiday and long weekend — expect more throughout the entire month of December, up until New Year's Day. (See list of saturation patrol locations below.) DUI checkpoints are planned for Tucson and the eastern Arizona town of Eagar.

A similar news conference is scheduled for December 2 in Tucson.

DUI arrests around Arizona have reportedly declined in the last few years despite an increase in police officers on DUI patrols. But statistics from the Arizona Department of Transportation show that the number of fatal crashes attributed to drivers who were believed drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs increased between 2013 and 2015.

In 2015, for example, 207 fatalities are believed to have been caused by drunk drivers, compared to 177 in 2014 and 182 in 2013. An additional 62 fatalities in 2015 were caused by drivers who appeared to be high on illegal drugs, compared to 47 drug-related driving fatalities in 2014.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.