Drive Hammered, Get Nailed; DUI task force ready for holiday

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

DPS: "Don't be drinking and driving 'cause we'll catch you."

PHOENIX -- Labor Day weekend -- the unofficial sayonara to summer -- tends to be a deadly time on Arizona's roadways. Last year, eight people were killed in car wrecks over the holiday weekend.

While many people will be out celebrating this weekend, the Department of Public Safety and other law-enforcement agencies throughout the state will be doing their best to make sure everybody gets home safe. One way they'll do that is with a statewide task force to crack down on drinking and driving.

It's called "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed."

DPS Officer Tim Case said officers on that task force will be out and about Friday through Tuesday morning.

It comes down to one clear choice.

"Find a designated driver or don't drink," Case said. "It's as simple as that. Don't be drinking and driving 'cause we'll catch you."

In addition to drunk drivers, officers also will be on the lookout for "lead foots."

"Any time you add speed with more vehicles, more traffic, it's a receipt for disaster," Case said.

The Drive Hammered, Get Nailed task force, which is a Governor’s Office of Highway Safety initiative, is an annual operation.

“The goal is to reduce those fatal accidents,” GOHS director Alberto Gutier said last year. It holds true every year. "We want people to celebrate Labor Day, a time for reflection and gratitude, but to do so responsibly by having a designated driver, calling a friend, or taking a taxi home."

In 2010, more than 33,000 officers and deputies took part in Driver Hammered, Get Nailed. They made more than 219,500 traffic stops throughout the year, resulting in a total of 18,674 DUI arrests, nearly 5,500 seat-belt citations and more than 99,600 other traffic citations.

Arizona's DUI laws are some of the toughest in the country. In September 2007, Arizona mandated ignition interlock devices for all offenders. A DUI conviction also carries a minimum of 10 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Here’s a listing of Labor Day weekend fatal crash figures in Arizona over the past five years:

Year Fatalities Fatal Crashes
2011 8 7
2010 11 9
2009 7 5
2008 19 14
2007 11 10