[El Centro, CA] – From mid-August through Labor Day, police, sheriff and CHP officials will be out in force as part of the annual nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk driving. The crackdown, which will include high-visibility enforcement throughout Imperial County, will run from August 16 through September 2, 2013.
The effective nationwide drunk driving crackdown will include high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and will be supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb drunk driving in August and through the Labor Day holiday weekend.
El Centro Police Department Executive Commander Eddie Madueño said the Avoid the 8 DUI Task Force will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers during the crackdown and will arrest anyone caught driving drunk. Plans are in place for two DUI/Drivers License Checkpoints and local roving DUI Saturation Patrols, a DUI Warrant/Probation Sweep and a DUI Court Sting targeting suspended drivers who were ordered by the judge not to drive.
Although it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, far too many people across the nation get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the serious nature of the nation’s continuing drunk driving epidemic.
“Every year, about one third of all motor vehicle traffic deaths involve one or more drunk drivers or motorcycle operators,” said Executive Commander Madueño. “In 2011 9,878 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers. That works out to approximately one drunk driving fatality every 53 minutes. In California, 774 died due to the crime of impaired driving.”
Executive Commander Madueño added that long weekends such as the Labor Day holiday are particularly dangerous.
During the Labor Day weekend in 2011, a total of 138 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders with a .08% BAC or higher. Of those fatalities, 83 percent occurred during early evening and overnight, from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. In California, 11 people were killed during the holiday weekend involving a driver at a .08% BAC or higher.
Drunk driving takes a particularly heavy toll among young drivers. Among 18 to 34-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, 42 percent were alcohol-impaired.
“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this nationwide effort, we will make California’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period,” said Director Chris Murphy, California Office of Traffic Safety.
“We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel drunk is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also impairs your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel. If you do chose to drive impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses,” Executive Commander Madueño said.
Executive Commander Madueño noted that being arrested for driving drunk brings a wide range of negative consequences into one’s life. Drunk drivers face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators also often face tremendous personal embarrassment.
“Driving drunk is simply not worth the risk. So don’t take the chance. Remember, we will be out in force and we will be watching, so ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,’” Executive Commander Madueño.
For more information, visit the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Headquarters at www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov. Avoid the 8 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminds everyone; Report Drunk Drivers! – Call 9-1-1.