Holiday DUI figures drop from last year

KINGMAN - It could have been the cool weather or perhaps the stricter penalties for driving while intoxicated passed by the Legislature this session, but the number of DUI arrests by the Western Arizona Task Force were down this weekend from last year.

The WATF is made up of officers from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, La Paz County Sheriff's Office, Parker and Kingman police departments, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Department of Public Safety. According to the MCSO, the task force conducted 467 traffic stops. Last year, the task force made 1,105 traffic stops.

The task force arrested 20 motorists for DUI this year; six of those arrests were for extreme DUI. Last year, the task force arrested 29 motorists for DUI, with 13 of those arrests for extreme DUI.

An extreme DUI involves a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or more. The average BAC this year was 0.14 percent. Last year, the average BAC was 0.16 percent.

This year the task force arrested three minors for underage DUI and issued 12 citations for minor consumption. Last year, the task force arrested three minors for DUI and issued 17 citations for minor consumption.

According to MCSO, the state also saw a drop in the number of misdemeanor and extreme DUI. Last year, 403 motorists statewide were arrested for misdemeanor DUI and 128 were arrested for extreme DUI. This year, 183 motorists were arrested for misdemeanor DUI and 59 for extreme DUI.

There was also a drop in the number of underage DUI arrests this year by the state. Last year, the statewide task force arrested 45 underage motorists for DUI. This year, the task force arrested 13.

MCSO Sgt. Don Bischoff said the decrease in DUI figures could be caused by a number of things. The weather last weekend was cooler and the new enhanced penalties for extreme and super extreme DUI passed by the Legislature might be some of the reasons, but it was too soon to tell.

"I'd like to hope that the message is getting out," he said. "Hopefully we'll see the DUI numbers continue to go down."

MCSO also reported that there were 15 arrests for operating under the influence on Lake Havasu this weekend. Along with two boating accidents without injuries and one accident with an injury, there were two citations for underage drinking, 63 citations for safety violations, eight criminal violations, 22 boater assist calls, 105 boater violation warnings and two agency assist calls.