ARIZONA, USA — Arizona's police officers arrested more motorists for impaired driving over the recent Labor Day weekend than in the last couple of years.
According to data released by the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety, the state's officers made at least 490 DUI arrests for alcohol and 180 arrests for drug impairment during the recent three-day weekend.
During Labor Day weekend in 2020, the state's officers made at least 399 DUI arrests for alcohol and 118 for drugs. The Labor Day weekend of 2019 resulted in 519 alcohol-related DUI arrests and 130 drug-related arrests.
Extreme DUI arrests, which require a blood alcohol level of at least 0.15, were also up this year compared to 2020 and more underaged drinkers were detained for impaired driving.
The 2021 figures show officers made 62 more DUI arrests specifically for drug impairment than they did last year.
The Office of Highway Safety predicted DUI drug arrests would start to increase in 2021 after Arizonans voted to legalize recreational marijuana last November.
"We think there will be an increase all over the state, slowly but surely," Alberto Gutier, the office's director, said back in February.
On Tuesday, Gutier told 12 News in an email that legalized marijuana "must be the reason" for the state's jump in DUI arrests over Labor Day.
Gutier additionally pointed out how officers conducted more "drug recognition" evaluations during this year's holiday weekend than compared to 2020 when marijuana was not yet legal to consume.
This was the first Labor Day weekend officers began issuing citations for distracted driving after the state passed new laws prohibiting motorists from using their phones while driving.
Officers issued 108 citations for distracted driving over the weekend.
Officers notably issued fewer citations this year for drivers not wearing seatbelts. Speeding citations were comparable to the amount recorded last year.
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