Senate bills propose stiffer DUI penalties

If it’s legislative season, it must be time to fiddle with the DUI laws. Again.

Sen. Linda Gray [R – Phoenix], the committee chairwoman and lead sponsor of SB1184, said she wouldn’t stop backing harsher DUI laws until there are no drunken-driving fatalities in Arizona.

Senate bills propose stiffer DUI penalties, The Arizona Republic, Feb. 15, 2008

I have no problem if the legislature wants to stiffen penalties for DUI.

What I do have a problem with is inaction on the overall problem. As I’ve pointed out before, Arizona suffers from a perenially high traffic fatality rate. DUI is a contributor to the problem, but focusing on that to the exclusion of all else makes no sense. The majority of wrecks do not involve any DUI — two-thirds of fatalities do not involve any drunk driving.

Speeding is the predominant driver error noted in all collision types; fatal, injury and PDO (Property Damage Only). See e.g. Arizona Crash Facts 2005, speeding was listed in about 25% of fatal collisions. The next highest, Failure to Yield, is a distant second at only 10%.

Incredulously, the lawmakers are expending their legislative energy on attempting to prevent the use of speed cameras.

…each of the anti-photo-enforcement measures passed by a party line, 3-2 vote. One measure, Senate Bill 1470, would bar the system on state roads. It’s mirrored by a ballot proposal, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1032, that would be put to Arizona voters in November.

A third measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1033, would require that a traffic study be conducted to determine speeds on any road planned for photo enforcement.

Voters may have final say on speed cameras in Nov. The Arizona Republic, Feb. 13, 2008

Sen. Robert Blendu (R- Litchfield Park), Ron Gould ( R – Lake Havasu City, and chairman of the Senate Transportation Comittee) have the usual excuses for not liking speed camera — but they don’t have any proposals to address dangerous driving either.

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