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One person is killed on Arizona roads every nine hours. Between speeding, impairment and a lack of seat-belt usage, so much of the problem seems preventable. ABC15 Arizona is Taking Action to make our roads safer and save lives. Story idea? Call 833-AZROADS or email roads@abc15.com.

DUIs in the Valley: Average weekend sees dozens of impaired drivers

PHOENIX - Drunk and drugged driving happens more often than you might think in the Valley, and it's no surprise that DUIs can come at a cost for everyone on the road.

"It's not worth it. I was looking at $8,000 in fines for both cases when all I had to do was call Uber, which would've been $8 to $10."

James Stepp admits he mess up, charged twice with DUI in 2016, but he's far from alone.

Raul Garcia Holguin’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit when he slammed into a car stopped at a red light in El Mirage, according to police. Police say he hasn’t had a license since it was revoked in 2002 for an aggravated DUI conviction.

Dana Marie Hullaby was speeding in west Phoenix with a 7-month-old child in her car when she was pulled over. She had a blood alcohol content of .12, police said, and now faces an aggravated DUI charge.

Eraclio Carrion Morales had six children in his car when he was pulled over in Mesa, showing “numerous signs of impairment,” according to police. He was also charged with aggravated DUI.

As part of our Operation Safe Roads coverage, these were just a few of the stories we discovered while gathering a "snapshot" of a typical summer weekend in the Valley for impaired driving.

Data from records requests to every agency in the area paints a frightening picture of what is happening on our roadways: 

  • 167 DUI or suspicion of DUI incidents were reported between June 7-10 from 10 agencies: Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Salt River, Surprise, Scottsdale, and Tempe police departments and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. (Casa Grande, El Mirage, and Goodyear police departments and the Department of Public Safety did not provide ABC15 with the data within a month of our request.)
  • Over 40 percent of the incidents occurred between the overnight hours of 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • About 18 percent of the incidents were reported as “extreme DUI,” which is .15 percent BAC or higher.
  • About 17 percent of the arrests were for drugged driving. According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, arrests for drugged driving have gone up more than ten times in recent years.

ARIZONA’S DUI LAWS

Under Arizona’s DUI laws, you will receive a DUI if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above .08 percent. If you're a commercial driver, you can be charged with DUI if your BAC is above .04 percent. If you're under 21 with any alcohol in your system, you can be charged with a DUI. Even first offenses carry fines, jail time and a license suspension. RELATED: See the penalties for DUI in Arizona

REPORTING A DRUNK DRIVER

Call 911 if you think you see an impaired driver on the road. Officers in the area will respond as safely and quickly as possible.

If you call 911, be prepared to give exact information: Direction of travel, street names, description of vehicle. The more information you can provide, the easier police can potentially find the vehicle.

RELATED: 100 driving cues of impaired drivers

ALCOHOL PROBLEM?

Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Never take a risk by getting behind the wheel when you have had a few drinks. How much is too much? DPS has provided a table that shows the effects of alcohol on your body.

If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, there are several programs you can take advantage of. Alcoholics Anonymous holds meetings around Arizona and a list of their locations can be found here.

If you would like to meet with a substance abuse counselor, you can search the State of Arizona database for a counselor here.

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