Phoenix — The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) has received $35,000 in federal funds, specifically to help with expenses for troopers taking part in enhanced distracted driving operations statewide. The money will also be used to help staff patrol vehicles with two troopers to aid in the detection and documentation of evidence related to distracted driving violations. DPS wants to maintain, if not increase, its distracted driving enforcement efforts utilizing overtime funding.
In 2016, AZDPS issued 15,945 citations and/or warnings for distracted driving violations. An increase in the number of calls for service have made targeted enforcement difficult.
The increased funding will also allow AZDPS to increase the total number of distracted driver citations/warnings through enforcement details and educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving.
The overall goal is to lower the number of speeding-related crashes by December 31, 2018, along with fatalities and injuries.
GOHS will also award AZDPS with $148,345.00 in grant funding to purchase DUI testing equipment. The money will also go towards overtime costs in various enforcement efforts. In 2016, AZDPS reported 1,097 impaired driver collisions and made 4,150 DUI arrests. Collisions involving impaired drivers have increased 4.98%. The funds will also be used to pay for five portable breath testing devices.
An additional $40,000 will be given AZDPS by GOHS for targeted enforcement aimed at seat belt compliance. In 2016, AZDPS issued a total of 27,686 citations for restraint use, of those 3,803 were for child safety violations. The money will be used for overtime expenses for troopers taking part in special enforcement.
Assistant DPS Director Lt. Colonel Wayde Webb said, “The Arizona Department of Public Safety is grateful for the continued partnership with Director Alberto Gutier and the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. GOHS's continued commitment toward highway safety in Arizona means DPS can continue to provide enhanced enforcement efforts as well as providing our troopers with specialized equipment that supports public safety in Arizona.”