Nearly 400 DUI arrests this holiday weekend

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- With a day to go in this long Labor Day weekend, law-enforcement officers throughout the state have already made nearly 400 DUI arrests, plus another 27 under-21 DUI arrests and 62 DUI drug arrests.

The Drive Hammered, Get Nailed task force launched its annual statewide operation last Wednesday. By Sunday officers had made more than 7,800 traffic stops resulting in 382 DUI arrests, according to numbers released by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

About 30 percent of those arrests were for extreme DUI, which means the driver's blood alcohol content was at least 0.15. The legal definition of impaired in Arizona is a BAC of 0.08.

The average known BAC, according to the GOHS numbers is 0.155.

Of the total DUI arrests, 40 were aggravated DUI, which means the driver had prior arrests -- there were 23 of those -- he or she was driving on a suspended, restricted or revoked license, or he or she had a minor younger than 15 in the car. Aggravated DUI is a felony charge.

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.

Labor Day weekend has traditionally been a deadly time on Arizona's roadways. Last year, eight people were killed in car wrecks over the holiday weekend. The annual DUI task force is law-enforcement's attempt to cut that number.

In addition to the DUI arrests, officers also issued 246 seat-belt citations and 41 child-restraint citations. This is the first Labor Day weekend in which drivers in Arizona were required to have children older than 4 in booster seats. The new law kicked in last month. It mandates booster seats or other restraint systems for children through age 7 who are not more than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Nearly 780 officers and deputies are part of the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed operation, which is a GOHS initiative.

Law-enforcement officers will be manning several DUI checkpoints on this final day of the long holiday weekend. Those checkpoint will start operations this afternoon and this evening, and continue through 4 a.m. Tuesday.

"Find a designated driver or don't drink," Department of Public Safety Officer Tim Case said Friday morning. "It's as simple as that. Don't be drinking and driving 'cause we'll catch you."

The GOHS said it planned to release its final numbers for Labor Day weekend some time Tuesday.


DUI Checkpoints

Saturday, September 1st thru Monday, September 3rd
Lake/River Patrol -7307 N. Bush Hwy

Friday, August 17th thru Monday, September 3rd
PHOENIX PD 7:00pm - 4:00am
Cactus Park: 2710 W. Thunderbird in QT Parking Lot
Mountain View: 1610 E. Highland in QT Parking Lot
Desert Horizon: 19815 N. 7th Street in QT Parking Lot
Central City: 3130 E. Thomas Road
South Mountain: Southern Command Station Parking Lot
Maryvale: 1155 N. 51st Avenue in QT Parking Lot