Drive Hammered, Get Nailed: DUI task force patrols roadways, lakes

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

STATEWIDE – Law-enforcement agencies throughout the state are out in force as this long holiday weekend wraps up, and they have a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.

The DUI crackdown started Thursday. Between then and Sunday, officers made 373 DUI arrests out of about 6,800 traffic stops.

That's slightly fewer arrests than were made this time last Labor Day weekend.

The DUI patrols are not just on Arizona’s roadways. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has teams out at Lake Pleasant, on the lookout for impaired boaters. The same laws that apply to drivers apply to boat operators, as well.

“We encourage everyone to have a good time, just don’t drink and drive or drink and operate,” a deputy said.

Labor Day weekend has traditionally been a deadly time on Arizona's roadways. In 2011, 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.

By the end of last year's Drive Hammered, Get Nailed operation, nearly 1,400 officers and deputies made more than 11,100 traffic stops a total of 564 DUI arrests -- 182 on Labor Day Monday alone. Those numbers were down from 2011.

Arizona DUI laws are some of the toughest in the country. Penalties include mandatory jail time, thousands of dollars in fines and fees and mandates that offender, even first-time offender, use an ignition interlock device.

Authorities were urging people to use designated drivers or call for a ride to avoid driving drunk.

Federal statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone in the U.S. every 53 minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.