The Avoid the 12 Stanislaus County DUI Task Force is planning on taking a zero tolerance approach to drunk driving for the remainder of the summer.
From now through Sept. 5 the 12 agencies involved in the task force will deploy two DUI/Drivers License checkpoints and another 10 DUI Saturation Patrols to stop and arrest alcohol and drug impaired drivers.
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration on average, over 10,000 people died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes nationwide while California recorded 882 deaths. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend (6 p.m. Aug. 29 – 5:59 a.m. Sept. 2), 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage over the five years 2010 to 2014. 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. – as compared to half of all drunk-driving crash fatalities throughout the rest of that year.
Additionally, 40 percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend in 2014 involved drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher, amounting to 162 lives lost nationwide and 20 in California. About 28 percent of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day
weekend involved drivers with blood alcohol contents of .15 or higher.
“People need to understand that drunk driving is not only deadly, but it is illegal,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Deputy Patrick McCulloch. “Drunk driving is a massive problem in the United States, with more than 10,000 people dying annually. Drivers need to pay attention to their own driving, but also to others on the road who could be driving drunk. It is your business. If you think you see a drunk driver, report them – call 911.”
Of the 9,967 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2014, 64 percent were the drunk drivers themselves.
“This is important to remember: do not trust yourself when you drink,” said McCulloch. “You may think you aren’t drunk, but law enforcement will know you are. Law enforcement officers’ skills in detecting and identifying drunk drivers have never been better. They will spot you and arrest you.”
The Avoid the 12 DUI Coalition reminds 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.
• 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.