TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 300 people die in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Further putting the dangers of drunk driving into perspective, numbers from ADOT’s 2017 Crash Facts Report show that the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in the state has been on the rise since 2016.
Local law enforcement said they see more people thinking it’s OK to drink and drive because of the partying associated with New Year’s.
DUI numbers from the Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff’s Department back that up.
According to the TPD, from Nov. 20, 2017 to Jan. 3, 2018, officers made 251 DUI arrests. Deputies from the PCSD made 84 DUI arrests from Dec. 1, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018.
So how does local law enforcement recommend you stay safe while still having fun this New Year’s Eve?
They said it all starts with making a plan before you start drinking. Decide how you’re getting home and when you plan to head home.
“What stuck in my mind is about this particular arrest is that young lady said she’d just had a few drinks and was very surprised that she would be considered impaired based on the amount of alcohol she consumed," said deputy James Allerton, talking about a memorable DUI arrest he made a while back. "But we think it’s important for people to understand that impairment is impairment and it’s not legal in Arizona to drive vehicle while impaired.”
With the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Arizona on the rise since 2016, and with safety in mind always, deputies said it’s important to bear in mind the impact drinking and driving can have.
Not only can it create a fatal domino effect, it also can amount to thousands of dollars in legal fees, getting arrested and losing your license.