Enforcement crackdown through holiday season


Pinal County Sheriff Chris Vasquez and Pinal County Attorney James P. Walsh announced Monday that they will be strictly enforcing the laws against driving under the influence during the holiday season in Pinal County under the tagline: Drunk Driving: Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

The intensified enforcement effort against drunk drivers underscores the severity of the problem both locally and across the nation.

“People who drive drunk show a deadly disregard for human life. Drunk driving leads to tragic injuries and loss of valued friends and family,” said County Attorney Walsh.

In 2006, 13,470 fatalities occurred in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle rider who had a .08 or above Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) compared with 13,582 in 2005. Sheriff Vasquez emphasized the critical role law enforcement plays in helping solve this national problem.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in December of 2006 1,076 people were killed in crashes involving a driver with a BAC level of .08 or higher above the legal limit in every state as well as the District of Columbia.
“The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving,” said Sheriff Vasquez.

“We and other agencies will be out in force making sure drunk drivers are off the road,” said Vasquez. “If we catch you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions. No excuses.”

Since 1981, every President of the United States has demonstrated the commitment to the prevention of impaired driving by proclaiming December as National Drunk & Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month.

Vasquez and Walsh said that always designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two of several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving. Other important tips include:

Plan ahead. Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out, and give that person your keys.

If you are impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to come get you.

Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement (9-1-1).

Wearing your seatbelt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is the best defense against an impaired driver.

And remember: Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. It is deadly serious and against the law.

“If you drive drunk, you will be arrested,” said Sheriff Vasquez.

County Attorney Walsh reminded, “Violators will be spending their money on bail, court, lawyers and towing fees instead of buying holiday presents for loved ones. That’s not a great way to end the year”

Don’t take the chance. Remember, if you are caught driving over the legal alcohol limit, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted.

For more information, visit www: StopImpairedDriving.org.