CHP Cracks Down On DUIs For The Holidays
December 11, 2006 9:42 PM
Before hitting the eggnog this holiday season, party-goers might want to designate a driver to ensure that they not only get home safely, but they don’t end up in the back of a police car.
Several California transportation departments are teaming up for the holiday season to ensure that what happened in 2005 doesn’t happen again. Based on the California Highway Patrol 2005 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, 46 percent of the fatal car crashes last year in California were alcohol related.
The departments that are teaming up to prevent these fatalities are the California Highway Patrol, Department of Transportation, California Office of Traffic Safety, Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, according to a press release by the Office of Traffic Safety.
One of their biggest weapons against drunk drivers is the 450 law enforcement agencies that will be cracking down on drunk drivers, however, the Office of Traffic Safety is also counting on another major factor to help aid in the arrest of drunk drivers: the public.
“We can’t be everywhere,” Chris Cochran of the Office of Traffic Safety said. “That is why we are asking the public to be our eyes and ears.”
California law enforcement officers are asking that if someone spots a drunk driver, he or she call the CHP with details on the location and the type of car.
“It is important to report drunk drivers right away,” Cochran said. “When we stop them it might be just in time, whereas if we didn’t they could have killed someone a mile down the road.”
According to the press release, $3.7 million of grant money has been dispersed to 94 law enforcement agencies throughout California to set up sobriety checkpoints.
“Seventy percent of Americans approve of DUI checkpoints,” Cochran said. “They are not set up so much to catch drunk drivers, but to let the public know that law enforcement is out there and we are cracking down.”
Although one SF State student, Emily Burkdoll, 21, a literature major, admits to avoiding checkpoints, she agrees they are an effective use of money. Also, when it comes to calling in a possible drunk driver, she is all for it.
“That is absolutely a good idea,” Burkdoll said. “I think everyone should be on the lookout for drunk drivers at all times, not just during the holiday season.”
In San Francisco alone last year there were 12 people killed and 541 injured because of alcohol-related car collisions, according to the 2005 California Highway Patrol SWITRS.
There were also 1,367 DUI arrests in San Francisco last year, according to the California Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center.
The deadliest time, as shown on the 2005 California Highway Patrol SWITRS, is Saturday between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
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