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DUI crackdown planned for end of summer

The Turlock Police Department is warning people that the end of summer plans should not include an arrest for driving under the influence.

Through Sept. 3, the Turlock Police Department is participating in a high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. During this period, police and sheriff’s departments statewide, along with the California Highway Patrol, will increase the number of officers on the road to stop suspected drunk or drug impaired drivers and motorcyclists. The Turlock Police Department will have a special emphasis during this 18-day mobilization to enforce all traffic violations by deploying DUI Saturation Patrols on the following date, Aug. 28.

The enforcement campaign runs through the Labor Day holiday weekend, which is one of the deadliest times of year in terms of alcohol-involved traffic deaths. Sadly, one-third of all traffic deaths involve drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes, or one person every 50 minutes.

“It’s up to drivers to make the smart decision and drive sober not just for this enforcement period, but every day”, said Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar. “This isn’t about ticketing. This is a campaign to get the message out that driving impaired is illegal and takes lives.”

Turlock Police Department will show zero tolerance for impaired driving or riding and joins efforts by the California Office of Traffic Safety to educate drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Taking prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning label, may impair a person enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing and result in a DUI, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

In the 10 years from 2005-2015, the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with an impairing drug other than alcohol in their system has risen from 26.2 percent to 42.6 percent. As far back as 2012, a roadside survey in California showed more drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).

During this national enforcement campaign, there will also be increased state and national messages about the dangers of riding impaired, which combined with enforcement, aims to drastically reduce drunk or drug impaired riding on the nation’s roadways.

Motorcycles require specific training and skill. When a rider adds alcohol, marijuana or impairing prescription medication to the mix, it is not only illegal, but increases the risky nature of riding a motorcycle.

There are so many options out there to get home safely. The Turlock Police Department has a few tips to stay safe on the roads:
• Always designate a sober driver.
• Use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home.
• Use your community’s sober ride program.
• Have a friend or family member who is about to drive buzzed or impaired? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely.
• Report drunk drivers — call 911.

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to Turlock Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.