Law enforcement officers plan DUI crackdown for the holiday

Law enforcement officers will be out in force during the New Year's holiday looking for drunken drivers on city, county and state highways.

Kingman police officers will be patrolling city streets mainly in the evening hours of New Year's Eve, KPD Capt.

Larry McGill said.

"We'll be looking for DUIs with a heightened awareness," McGill said.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officers will have extra officers patrolling on New Year's Eve focusing on Interstate 40 through Kingman, state Highway 68 through Golden Valley and state Highway 95 through Mohave Valley, DPS Sgt.

Tom Kern said.

"With the holidays in the middle of the week, it should be fairly quiet," he said.

Mohave County Sheriff's Office will also have extra patrols on duty on county roads for the holiday, MCSO spokesman Jarrod Lyman said.

"During these holidays we always have an increase in the number of deputies on patrol and we're always looking for anyone displaying signs of driving under the influence," Lyman said.

"During these holidays we're even more vigilant."

Last year, Arizona lowered the blood alcohol limits to 0.08 for DUI and 0.15 for extreme DUI offenses.

If a driver is arrested for driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above, they will have their license suspended for a minimum of 90 days and face a mandatory 24 hours in jail for the first offense.

If an impaired driver refuses a breath test, the license will be suspended for one year.

Penalties for extreme misdemeanor DUI are a mandatory 10 days in jail.

Approximately a third of the DUI arrests in Kingman each year are extreme DUIs.

DUI arrests are usually misdemeanors.

However, it becomes a felony if the offender is arrested with a child under the age of 15 in the car; had their driver's license suspended for a previous felony DUI; or had three felony DUIs in the last five years.

During the three-day New Year's holiday last year, 13 people died in 10 traffic accidents in the state.

Of those, five deaths were caused by alcohol, according to data complied by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

A total of 79 people died during the year's six major holidays, a drop from 99 deaths the year before.

The New Year's holidays are usually one of the most deadly holidays.

About a quarter of all fatal crashes throughout the state are alcohol related, the ADOT data shows.

Last year on Arizona highways, more than 8,000 alcohol-related accidents caused 258 fatalities.

In Mohave County, there were 38 fatal accidents killing 44 people.

In Kingman, three people died in fatal accidents in 2001.

The number of deaths decreased in the county but tripled in Kingman from the year before.

The number of injuries in the city also increased.

In Arizona, bars are required to close at 1 a.m.

Most alcohol-related accidents and alcohol-related fatal accidents occur between midnight and 1 a.m.

on weekends and between 8 p.m.

and 1 a.m.

on weekdays.

The largest number of accidents and deaths last year occurred at 1 a.m.

especially on weekends, ADOT data shows.

About half of the drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents are between 25 and 44 years old.

Almost 81 percent of drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents are men and 83 percent of those drivers killed are men, the ADOT report shows.