State Police Putting Greater Focus on Drunken Driving Enforcement

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arrests by state troopers for drunken driving rose last year in Arkansas, and preliminary numbers indicate the number of fatal crashes on state roads went down from the year before.

State police arrested 7,121 people for driving drunk or under the influence in 2007, up 501 arrests from 2006.  State police counted 634 traffic fatalities in 2007, down from 665 in 2006.  State police spokesman Bill Sadler says the final number for 2007 could rise as some fatal crash reports possibly haven't been submitted to the state by local agencies.  The number of alcohol-related fatalities hasn't been determined yet.

The state used $600,000 in grant money from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year to help fund overtime for extra state police patrols and checkpoints.

State police say the federal dollars enabled troopers to conduct five "mobilizations" last year.  The mobilizations involve combining stepped-up enforcement with media ads that warn people not to drink and drive.  The mobilizations were held around different holidays and during prom season.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)