Arizona ranks high in DUI crackdown/enforcement - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Arizona ranks high in DUI crackdown/enforcement

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The National Transportation Safety Board is proposing tougher drunk driving laws that would impact all 50 states.

However, Arizona already has some of the toughest DUI laws around.

NTSB officials recommended this week that the blood alcohol level threshold used to determine whether someone is legally drunk be lowered from .08 to .05 nationwide.

But a new federal law would not have much impact on Arizona, said Alberto Gutier, director of the governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Gutier said that Arizona already has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country.

"Not only the toughest laws in the country, but the toughest enforcement in the country," said Gutier. "We enforce the laws, not only for DUI, but also DUI and drugs."

Since 2007, the number of drunk driving deaths in Arizona has dropped 46 percent, according to Mother's Against Drunk Driving.

Experts told CBS 5 News that one of the reasons for the decrease in DUI fatalities is an interlock device that requires convicted drunk drivers blow into a breathalyzer before their car will start.

Arizona recently passed a law that made it mandatory that first time offenders have an interlock device installed in their vehicle for six months.

Kelley Dupps with M.A.D.D. said another reason Arizona ranks in the top 10 nationally for being tough on drunk drivers is that even if motorists have a blood alcohol level below .08, they can still be cited.

"Here in Arizona we have a law that says you can be pulled over and arrested for DUI if you're impaired to the slightest degree," said Dupps. "Whether that's .04 or .07, Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws and enforcement in the nation."

Dupps said that state lawmakers have consistently made DUI enforcement a priority in this state, allocating hundreds millions of dollars each year to help law enforcement pay for overtime to keep DUI patrols and checkpoints going.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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