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Arizona law enforcement preps for holiday DUI season

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX – Law enforcement officers in Arizona will be out in full force cracking down on drunk and impaired drivers this holiday season.

It’s part of the statewide holiday DUI enforcement and sober designated driver campaign. The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, along with dozens of state law enforcement officers, kicked off the campaign Tuesday.

“We want to remind people to enjoy the holiday season, but do so responsibly by getting a sober designated driver, not a DUI,” Alberto Gutier, director of the highway safety office, said.

Law enforcement agencies planned to increase DUI patrols and checkpoints.

They spoke about their efforts dressed in uniform on the lawn of the Arizona Capitol Mall. Dozens of motorcycles as well as RVs and trucks where officers conduct sobriety tests were also lined up outside.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams spoke about the importance of having a designated driver.

“There’s no reason anymore for you to drive while intoxicated,” Williams said. “There are people in the community who will be designated drivers.”

She also urged drivers to use ride-share services to take them home if they have been drinking.

“We want you to be safe through the holiday season,” she added.

Williams was joined by other top law enforcement leaders, including Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir and Surprise Police Chief Terry Young.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was also there, speaking about the legal consequences of drunk driving.

“You cannot afford to get a DUI in Arizona,” Montgomery said.

“The thousands you will pay in fines and fees, the time you will spend incarcerated and the money you will have to spend on an attorney can get you upwards easily towards $10,000.”

He added there are “far too many” ride options drivers can use to get them home safely after they’ve been drinking.

According to the governor’s highway safety office, there have been about 27,000 DUI arrests this year. That’s down from about 32,000 five years ago.

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