The recent announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that collisions in the first quarter of this year were at their highest rate in 20 years has prompted police departments around the country to look at ways to curb risky driving behavior.
The Turlock Police Department will be doing their part with an enhanced effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, including a sobriety checkpoint set for Friday.
“Whether traveling locally or taking a longer road trip to see friends and family, please have a game plan for how to get home safely,” said Turlock Police Sgt. Joseph Dusel. “There is never a good excuse for driving under the influence or using drugs that impair.”
NHTSA estimates that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022. This is an increase of about 7% as compared to the 8,935 fatalities projected for the same quarter in 2021. This would be the highest number of first-quarter fatalities since 2002.
According to NHTSA’s early estimates, the fatality rate for the first quarter of 2022 increased to 1.27 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up from the projected rate of 1.25 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles in the first quarter of 2021.
“The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are more resources than ever for research, interventions and effective messaging and programs that can reverse the deadly trend and save lives,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Administrator.
During the Labor Day holiday period, the nation typically sees an increase in drunk-driving deaths. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, which runs from Aug. 17 to Sept. 5, aims to educate people about the dangers and consequences of driving drunk.
In 2020, 11,654 people died in drunk-driving crashes — a 14% increase from 2019.
The Turlock Police Department plans on having additional officers patrolling during these weeks and they will have a particular focus on looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In addition to extra patrols, the Turlock Police Department will hold a DUI Checkpoint from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday into Saturday at an undisclosed location in the city.
While drunk driving is a significant traffic safety problem, driving while impaired is not just from alcohol. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana may also impair. If you plan on drinking or taking medications with a driving warning label, let someone who is sober drive.
Anyone spotting a suspected drunk driver is encouraged to call 911.