Drunk Driver Crackdown Planned

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The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety awarded the Payson Police Department (PPD) a $15,500 grant to enhance DUI enforcement in Payson.

The program will target aggressive drivers, impaired drivers, occupant protection, speeding and other highway safety laws with the goal of reducing injuries and fatalities.

Last year, Payson police arrested 114 people for DUI, a decrease of six from 2009 and 60 fewer than in 2008.

Payson Police Chief Don Engler says the drop in arrests took place because the call load and staffing cuts leave officers less time to watch for drunk drivers. Last year, impaired drivers caused six vehicle accidents with three of those involving injuries.

The department will use part of the grant to fund saturation patrols to catch impaired drivers. The last saturation patrol was yesterday, St. Patrick’s Day.

Future patrols will likely occur on busy holiday weekends.

The grant funds are part of an ongoing effort to make local roads and highways safer through a combination of traffic enforcement and public education. The PPD has already purchased four preliminary breath test devices with part of the money, and has until Sept. 30 to use the rest.

“Our department has enjoyed a lengthy, positive relationship with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and has been awarded many grants that have been beneficial to the Payson area,” Engler said. For more information, call (928) 474-5242 ext. 220.

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