Increased DUI enforcement in place for St. Patrick's Day

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SCOTTSDALE -- Downtown Scottsdale will likely be filled with revelers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday, March 17.  That is why the Scottsdale Police Department wants to make sure it is not only a lucky night, but a safe one. 

Officers will be out in force as a part of a DUI checkpoint 7 p.m.-3 a.m., at Scottsdale Road and Palm Lane.  Investigators say they will be checking out drivers who are headed southbound on Scottsdale Road.

Meanwhile, DPS, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Surprise Police Departments along with the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department are picking up people with warrants for drunken driving.

DPS is running a command post Thursday at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix where suspects are being booked.

The state police says those with warrants can turn themselves in at the Coliseum.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, police departments throughout the state reported 7,756 crashes involving a driver or pedestrian with a BAC of .01 or more. The agency says impaired driving can be defined as a reduction in the performance of critical driving tasks due to the effects of alcohol or other drugs. 

DPS also says alcohol is a factor in more than 26 percent of Arizona’s crash costs. In fact, the average alcohol-related fatality in Arizona costs $3.3 million -- $.9 million in monetary costs and $2.4 million in quality of life losses. 

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash averaged $87,000 -- $49,000 in monetary costs $51,000 in quality of life losses. 

Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 17 percent of Arizona’s auto insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10 percent would save $50 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.