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Impaired drivers be warned: No getting out of blood alcohol test

PHOENIX -- Twenty years ago, Arizona kicked off a national think tank to stop impaired driving.

This week, those drug recognition experts are back in Arizona, sharing notes on the latest to combat impaired driving.

Arizona has a reputation for coming down hard on drivers who get behind the wheel drunk or on drugs. So much so that at the 20th Annual International Association of Chief of Police Training Conference on Drugs, Alcohol and Impaired Driving, a record number of officers showed up.

"We have more than 850 attendees here at the Biltmore this week," said Alberto Gutier, director of the governor's Highway Safety Division. "That's a record number of attendees since we launched the program from Phoenix 20 years ago."

One of the hot topics being discussed this week involves speeding up the blood alcohol testing process. Phoenix Police Sgt. Doug Opferbeck said that in Maricopa County, one of the road blocks stopping officers from giving blood alcohol tests on-scene was the search warrant process if someone refuses to take it. But all that just changed, thanks to the electronic search warrant.

"It allows the officer to author a search warrant on their computer and send it electronically to a judge who is waiting for them," he explained. "The judge reviews it and sends it back electronically."

The electronic warrant capability will now turn an eight- to 10-hour waiting period into an instant process.

"We're getting warrants back in four to eight minutes," said Opferbeck.

And if that blood alcohol test comes back positive, a driver's chances for getting out of a DUI in Arizona are now about .08 percent.

About the Author

Holliday Moore is a Phoenix native with more than 25 years experience in the local and national broadcast and media industry. A graduate of ASU's journalism program, with a second major in Marketing & Management, she considers herself one of the lucky few to be doing exactly what she loves, writing and producing news.

In 2012, she won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for a light feature radio story on snakes. For the record, snakes do not say much! She is also honored to be one of two nominees this year for a Mark Twain Award involving her series on Arizona drowning cases.

Among her career accomplishments, Moore has taken home a television Emmy for Cultural Issues Reporting on the Navajo/Hopi Partition Land Act. She has also won numerous Emmy nominations for hard, soft and even sports reporting. However, Moore considers her highest achievement was on the day she received the prestigious Walter Cronkite Political Excellence Award for developing the Scripps Television stations' Democracy 2000 & 2002 program. Bob Morford, ABC 15's News Director at the time, asked Moore to head the project with one wish, "Try not to lose ratings," he said. "We not only did not lose ratings," says Moore, "We actually improved ratings between the coveted 5:00-6:30pm news block."

"She created, designed and executed the award winning program," recalls Morford, "Her efforts brought a great deal of notice and credit to our station."

Moore loves a challenge and is an adrenaline junky by nature. She ran 400 hurdles in college and more recently half marathons to raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She works part time for KTAR Radio while volunteering for her young son's elementary school and running a freelance media services business.


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