As summer winds down, the Monterey Park Police Department is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk-driving. The 18-day, high-visibility campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” is a partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety to curb impaired driving and save lives. August 21 through September 7 (Labor Day), law enforcement partners in Los Angeles County across the state and nationwide will show zero tolerance for drunk-driving. Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with checkpoints and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce the toll of drunk-driving.
And what a toll it is. In 2013, there were 10,076 people killed in drunk-driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In California, 867 died in drunk-driving collisions according to NHTSA. Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. And we’re not just talking about a little bit of alcohol, either. More than a quarter (27 percent) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher – almost twice the illegal limit.
The Monterey Park Police Department kicks off Friday night by deploying four DUI Saturation Patrol units. DUI enforcement will continue through Monday, September 7 with more DUI enforcement on August 28 and September 4, 2015.
NHTSA data shows that repeat offenders are an especially dangerous facet of the drunk-driving problem. In the month of August from 2009-2013, of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, almost 1 out of 10 (8 percent) of them had already been convicted of at least one drunk-driving offense.
Law enforcement emphasizes 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.
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.
So this August and year-round, remember that there’s no excuse for drunk or impaired driving. If you choose to break the law, police sheriff and CHP officials will see you before you see them. Remember, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Funding for this special campaign 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.
Sergeant Brent Archibald, Monterey Park Police Department