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Avoid a DUI this Fourth of July!

If past statistics predict future ones, hundreds of Arizonans will be charged with DUIs this Fourth of July weekend.  The Arizona DUI Taskforce is implementing even more DUI checkpoints across the Valley in an effort to keep the roads safe. It comes as no surprise to those of us who have lived here for a while, but in a recent study from the leading personal finance outlet, WalletHub.com, and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Arizona was named the strictest state on DUI laws. During Independence Day weekend last year, DUI arrests skyrocketed to 534 arrests. Reports from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety announced that this sharp increase in drunken-driving arrests was largely due to a boost in law enforcement’s efforts. The number of participating officers and deputies jumped to 2,237 last year, up from 1,445 in 2013 — an increase of almost 55%. This year will be no different; here are some important facts to keep in mind while you, your families, and friends are celebrating.

First and foremost: if you plan on drinking, the smartest and safest plan is to use a designated sober driver. For those drinking, remember that your body processes alcohol in a unique way, so please do not rely on alcohol levels quoted in BAC Calculators or on flyers and assume you are safe to drive—they can underestimate your actual blood alcohol concentration!

Checking out fireworks or heading up to try out that new jet-ski? Checkpoints and saturation patrols can be expected near fireworks displays and along roadways to popular parks and water recreation areas (Salt River, Lake Pleasant, etc.). If you plan on visiting one of Arizona’s lakes or rivers this weekend, be prepared for law enforcement to approach your boat and ask to see if each passenger has a life jacket. Meanwhile, they are simultaneously looking for signs of impairment—and yes, boat captains, remember that you can get a DUI just the same as if you were driving a car on the road.

The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has not yet stated where these DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols will be located yet. However, here are several of the past locations for Phoenix: the I-17 and Thunderbird; 16th Street and Highland; 40th Street and Greenway; all of Central City Village; Central Avenue and Elwood; 51st Avenue and the I-10.

Tempe has previously patrolled between Mill Avenue and University in high numbers. University Drive and Dorsey Lane has had a significant police presence in the past.

Scottsdale typically posts at the address of the police station behind Scottsdale Stadium, so it’s safe to assume that you will see police anywhere in Old Town Scottsdale. Pima Road and Chaparral Road have also typically had a strong police presence.

Last year, Chandler joined the East Valley DUI Task Force with a command post at 7601 East McKellips Road in Scottsdale on July 5, including saturation patrols in Chandler.

In case we need to say it one more time, Fourth of July weekend DUI patrols will be just about everywhere. Police are on high alert for even very minor traffic violations because of the number of people drinking during their celebrations. And just when you thought Arizona couldn’t get more aggressive with DUIs, DPS has some brand new super stealth DUI enforcement vehicles that are even harder to identify as police cars. If you are pulled over and suspected of DUI, remember your rights—you can refuse eye, walking, and balance tests and you should ALWAYS request to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Please make sure that you and your fellow Independence lovers are safe this weekend. (We’re doing our part: we found $20 of Lyft credit for new customers!) We wish everyone a safe, happy, and fun-filled weekend to celebrate our great nation!