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NCSO Collects Traffic Statistics On Fatalities, DUIs In Quest For Grant

NCSO Collects Traffic Statistics On Fatalities, DUIs In Quest For Grant

By Tammy Gray-Searles

Navajo County Sheriff Gary Butler recently provided traffic statistics for 2005 for the unincorporated areas of Navajo County, including alcohol related fatalities, DUI arrests and related fatalities. The statistics are part of a request for grant funding from the Governors Office of Highway Safety.

If received, the grant would be used to purchase 11 new radar units and 10 digital mobile video cameras. According to Navajo County Sheriffs Office (NCSO) Deputy Commander Kelly Clark, both the radar units and VHS video recording systems currently being used by the department are antiquated and unreliable. Clark estimates that new equipment would reduce speed related collisions by five percent, and would increase credibility in court cases by 30 percent.

The total cost of the new equipment is $71,042, and would be completely funded by the grant, if it is awarded.

The statistics only include traffic incidents handled by NCSO, and not those investigated by city police officers or the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The most significant increase in traffic-related incidents for NCSO was DUI arrests, with a total of 377 in 2005. In 2004, NCSO made 342 DUI arrests and in 2003, 275.

Of the DUI arrests made in 2005, five involved offenders under the age of 21. In 2004, only one underage offender was arrested and in 2003, three underage offenders were arrested.

Alcohol related fatalities were down by four, with seven in 2005 and 11 in 2004. There were also seven alcohol related fatalities in 2003.

The number of citations issued by NCSO for speeding dropped drastically in 2005, a trend which Clark attributed to outdated and unreliable radar equipment. In 2005, only five speeding citations were issued, with 30 issued in 2004 and 31 issued in 2003.

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