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PRESS RELEASES

Arizona Department of Public Safety to take part in Drive to Save Lives Campaign

DPS to enforce speed limits, curb distracted driving

Thursday, March 20, 2014 -

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is proud to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and highway patrol agencies from over 40 states in a targeted effort to reduce fatalities on our nation’s roadways by 15 percent in 2014.

More than 33,000 deaths occur each year on our nation’s roadways. A major element of the targeted effort, which is called the Drive to Save Lives Campaign, is officer safety. Traffic related incidents are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers.

Last year, 46 officers were killed on our highways nationwide.

“In Arizona, DPS has lost 16 of its 29 officers who were killed in the line of duty in traffic related incidents with the most recent being Officer Tim Huffman. He was killed by a distracted driver while investigating a collision last year along Interstate 8. We feel this traffic safety program will go a long way towards protecting the public and the lives of our officers,” said Lt. Colonel James McGuffin of the DPS Highway Patrol Division.

So far this year, the Arizona Highway Patrol has been doing targeted DUI and speeding enforcement. Beginning in a few weeks, the agency will be using existing state laws to prevent distracted driving as part of this national effort. Selected districts will dedicate resources to identify distracted drivers and issue warnings and citations as needed. It’s important to remember that drivers who are distracted are usually not paying attention to speed or rapidly changing road conditions which is a factor in most collisions. As we move into the summer holidays, the Highway Patrol expects to partner with other states with special enforcement efforts targeted for highways with high crash levels. The ultimate goal of the effort will be to reduce collisions and remind the public that most crashes are preventable. The importance of wearing seat belts, not being distracted, and driving sober will also be emphasized.