According to the Tempe Police Department, the city saw a sharp decline in fatal accidents involving impaired drivers in 2011, The Arizona Republic reports.
From 2010 to 2011, fatal accidents involving impaired drivers dropped 80 percent, according to police statistics. Fatal accidents in general fell by 44 percent. According to Tempe police, the decline was due to the department’s new emphasis on traffic enforcement.
Tempe officers made 1,695 DUI arrests in 2011, and responded to 4,640 collisions, Police Chief Tom Ryff said in a recent press release. The spike in DUI arrests seems to have helped cut down the number of fatal DUI accidents in 2011. In 2010, five out of nine fatal driving accidents were due in part to impaired drivers, compared to one out of five in 2011.
According to Ryff, the decline in fatal DUI accidents is due to the department’s increased focus on traffic enforcement. “From DUI Task Force partnerships to enforcing speeding violations in neighborhoods and schools, we’ve made traffic safety a priority,” Ryff said.
Prosecutors often charge individuals with vehicular manslaughter after they kill someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under Arizona’s criminal code, manslaughter is defined as “recklessly causing the death of another person.” The standard for a manslaughter charge is whether the person’s conduct was a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
Despite cuts to personnel and funding, the Tempe Police Department has been able to lower the accident rate by obtaining traffic-safety grants and employing select enforcement techniques.
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