Thu, Jan. 23

Cops stay busy on Memorial Day weekend

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office reported that county law enforcement agencies conducted an impaired motorist patrol on Memorial Day weekend May 28-30 in an effort to keep impaired motorists off the road.

YSCO Special Crimes Unit partnered with Cottonwood, Sedona, Prescott Valley Police departments and Arizona Department of Public Safety during the three-day effort.

The patrols were held on various roadways in Yavapai County but were mainly concentrated in the areas around, Cottonwood, Sedona and Prescott Valley.

As a result of the impaired motorist patrols, 17 arrests were made for driver impairment out of 200 traffic contacts.

Of those arrests, two were felony DUI, three were blood alcohol concentration of up to .15 percent and three were for impairment due to drugs.

Deputies report that 12 arrests were made for drinking alcoholic beverages while driving and nine arrests were made for possession of drugs.

Further, law enforcement officers reported that eight arrests were made for driving on suspended licenses and two arrests were made on persons with valid arrest warrants.

Additionally, deputies report that there were 39 seatbelt violations noted.

Arizona Department of Public Safety reported that officers in Yavapai County stopped 1200 vehicles for various traffic violations, wrote 99 seatbelt citations and arrested 17 motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

With the help of dedicated civilian reserves, DPS officers also performed 542 various motorist assists.

YCSO reported that 27 deputies and officers participated in the patrols. Grant funding provided all overtime associated with the Memorial Day impaired driver saturation patrols obtained by the participating agencies from the Arizona DUI Abatement Council and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

DPS reported that there were no serious wrecks over the holiday weekend and no fatalities in the county.

According to AAA, Memorial Day travel increased nationwide this year, with 37 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more from home.

Last year, an estimated total of 42,700 crashes in Arizona involved alcohol, which killed 406 and injured an estimated 17,300 people.

DPS reported that alcohol is a factor in 26 percent of Arizona’s wreck costs. Alcohol-related crashes in Arizona cost the public an estimated $2.6 billion in 1999, including $1.1 billion in monetary costs and the average alcohol-related fatality in Arizona cost $3.3 million.

The estimated cost per injured survivor of an alcohol-related wreck averaged $87,000.

According to DPS, intensive enforcement of Arizona State BAC limits with highly visible sobriety checkpoints may reduce alcohol-related fatalities by at least 15 percent and save approximately $62,500 per checkpoint. The costs of conducting a checkpoint averages about $8,900.

AAA reported that 12 people in Arizona died last year over the Memorial Day weekend, the death toll from 10 crashes.

According to the AAA, there were nearly 13,000 deaths and 850,000 injuries nationwide last summer, the busiest times on American highways.

More children and teens die in crashes during the summer than any other time.

The fatalities are attributed in the report to six major factors: failing to wear seat belts or using child seats improperly; driving impaired by drugs or alcohol, excessive speed and distractions.

YCSO joins all local law enforcement agencies in encouraging Yavapai County motorists to drink responsibly, drive smart and drive sober.

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