Hundreds of our fellow Arizonans will get DUIs in the next few days.
A multi-pronged Fourth of July enforcement effort is set to ensnare drunk or drugged drivers. Driving under the influence endangers you and others, and a DUI citation can be expensive and problematic. So do what you can to avoid becoming a statistic.
Here's a round-up of the heightened police activity planned for this weekend:
* The Chandler Police Department announced earlier this week it will conduct a DUI task force from today through Saturday, thanks to a grant from the DUI Abatement council.
The department's teaming up with officers from Mesa and Gilbert to swarm "select areas" of all three cities. Far from the homes of the elected officials of each city, no doubt.
A command post will be set up at 1950 South Country Club Drive in Mesa. Chandler and Gilbert will continue saturation patrols on July 4 "coinciding with each city's fireworks events," with a shared command post at Gilbert and Germann Roads.
Chandler will also join an East Valley DUI Task Force with a command post at 7601 East McKellips Road in Scottsdale on July 5, including saturation patrols in Chandler.
A saturation patrol basically means a whole lot of cops driving around the "select areas," pulling people over for things they would normally ignore.
* If you're planning on boating in the Colorado River near Lake Havasu this weekend, beware of checkpoints there.
* The Pima County Sheriff's Office plans to set up another sobriety checkpoint on Saturday somewhere within its jurisdiction. The location isn't being revealed as part of the strategy, says Deputy Tracy Suitt. If people think the checkpoint could be anywhere, they'll be more likely to worry, and less likely to drink and drive, he says. At a checkpoint the agency held south of Tucson on Tuesday night, 344 drivers were stopped, with one getting a DUI and another a citation for possession of marijuana.
* Alberto Gutier of the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety warns that "about 78 police agencies around the state are planning some sort of stepped-up enforcement for this weekend.
* Yuma police are joining forces with California authorities for an interstate DUI crackdown.
* AAA will offer its free "Tipsy Tow" service for from 6 p.m. on July 4 to 6 a.m. on July 5. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357), tell them you want a Tipsy Tow, and get a free tow and ride home up to 10 miles away.
Stay safe out there!
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.