Police agencies throughout the region, including California Highway Patrol, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department and local police departments are reminding motorists to be safe on the highways this coming New Year’s Eve holiday. Additional enforcement efforts throughout the period will have officers on alert to the possibility of impaired drivers.
Having a sober driver is just the first step in keeping the night safe, said officials. They encourage everyone to continue using their seat belts, putting away their cell phones, following the rules of the road, and keeping an eye out for dangerous drivers.
It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunken driving crashes with 867 of those in California alone along with 23,000 others seriously injured across the state. Even if you drive drunk and aren’t killed or seriously injured you could end up paying as much $10,000 for a DUI. Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects.
Law enforcement officials also emphasize the preventable nature of drunk driving, reminding everyone that all it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive. The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP) mobile app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices. Launched last year, the new DDVIP app offers enhanced features, allowing users to “Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or a “List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California. Users will be offered free incentives at each bar to celebrate their life saving role. They can stay up-to-date with the latest from DDVIP and see what other users are saying via its social tab. Also through the app, for those who want to imbibe but also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb – all from one screen.
Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so follow these simple tips to stay safe:
• Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgment, as well as reaction time. If you’re drunk you’re more like to choose to drive drunk.
• Designate a sober driver; take public transportation, a car service, or a call a sober friend or family member to get home.
• Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
• If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.
Drunk drivers often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towed, and collision repair, and lost wages due to time off from work. Even worse, a drunk driver can cause a traffic crash that claims someone’s life or their own.
DUI arrest data collection will continue through midnight Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Avoid programs, named for the number of police agencies in each county, are deploying Multiple/DUI Driver’s License Checkpoints and local Roving DUI patrols region wide during 17 day Winter Holiday Campaign.
Funding for this DUI enforcement operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that reminds everyone: Report Drunk Drivers! Call 9-1-1.