This Labor Day weekend, families and friends will be celebrating the end of the summer. Sadly, this festive time has also become a dangerous time for America’s roads, as many drunk drivers get behind the wheel after celebrating. For this reason, the Monterey Park Police Department is partnering with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to stop drunk drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” runs August 19-September 5, 2016. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk and drugged driving. Increased national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with sobriety checkpoints and increased officers working DUI saturation patrols on the road, aim to reduce impaired driving on our nation’s roads.
The Monterey Park Police Department will deploy a special roving DUI Saturation Patrol to stop and arrest alcohol and drug impaired drivers during the end of summer 18 day DUI campaign. The special DUI patrols will be conducted August 19, 22, 26 and 29, 2016 from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Police, Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol will be out looking for the tale-tell signs of drunk driving in order to stop and arrest impaired drivers throughout the region.
In 2014, California recorded 882 alcohol involved deaths. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend, 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage of the previous five years. Nighttime proves to be the most dangerous time to be out on the roads. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday period, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
The Monterey Park Police Department reminders everyone:
• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
• Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone. The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more. The feature-packed app even has social media tie-ins and even a tab for the non-DD to call Uber, Lyft or Curb.
• Drugs, medication and alcohol=crashes: 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.
• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take your friend’s keys and help your friend make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.
As the summer winds to an end, remember that there’s no excuse for drunk or impaired driving. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Funding for the extra DUI enforcement operations is a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sergeant Brent Archibald, Monterey Park Police Department