This time of year, with all the holiday office parties and festive occasions with friends and families, many partygoers will be drinking. If you’re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Monterey Park Police Department has a message for you, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be out in force December 12, 2014-January 1, 2015 actively searching for drunk or drug impaired drivers.
Monterey Park and other area police departments have plans for 43 DUI/drivers license checkpoints and 56 roving DUI saturation patrols with the first DUI operations planned on Friday, December 12, 2014 from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Additionally, police, sheriff and the CHP throughout the region are deploying multiple DUI operations in overtime to increase DUI arrests.
The facts are grim: in December 2012 there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. 26 of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day. On average, a third (31 percent) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving. But on Christmas Day 2012, the amount jumped to 36 percent. Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America, with 802 of those in California alone. In California, an additional 24,000 are seriously injured.
Some startling data from NHTSA shows that during the holiday season in 2012, 40 percent of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record. And many offenders are young drivers. During that same holiday period, 37 percent of the 21 to 24 year-old drivers in fatal crashes were drunk. Surprisingly, almost 1 out of 6 drivers under the age of 21 in those fatal crashes were also drunk, even though they’re too young to legally buy or consume alcohol.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
If you’re drinking and driving, law enforcement will be out to find and arrest you no warnings, no excuses. The only way to truly avoid a DUI is to drive sober. There are many ways to get home safely after drinking and driving isn’t one of them. Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member. You could also use public transportation or call a taxi. The cost of cab fare is nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI or the cost of someone’s life, and the “inconvenience” of not driving your own car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending the holidays behind bars. This holiday season don’t let the festivities turn into fatalities.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminds everyone, “Report Drunk Drivers! – Call 9-1-1.” The Office of Traffic Safety is offering a free mobile app, DDVIP, aimed at thanking the sober designated driver with perks and free offers at area bars and restaurants.
Sergeant Brent Archibald, Monterey Park Police Department