Starting this weekend and leading into New Year’s Eve, revelers can have some peace of mind knowing a great deal of law enforcement will be out enforcing laws against impaired driving throughout the Valley. It is a shame to think that despite the precautions one takes to abide by traffic laws and drive safely, there always remains a risk of being involved in an accident because another party deliberately chose to ignore the laws.
While we aren’t telling people how to celebrate the New Year, we do hope those who choose to drink will think twice about getting behind the wheel if they have had a few drinks prior.
That driving under the influence continues to be a local problem is evidenced in the statistics that are released after the holiday weekend. While the numbers themselves are relatively few, they likely aren’t a full accounting of the prevalence of the problem.
This year’s Christmas weekend saw the number of DUI-related arrests rise from seven in 2011 to 10, the California Highway Patrol reported. Last New Year’s weekend saw six people arrested on roads patrolled by the Highway Patrol over the four-day holiday. That number is double the number of people arrested for DUI in 2010.
That’s why it should be heartening to hear the Imperial County Avoid the 8 DUI Task Force will implement a two-pronged approach to clear the streets of transgressors. One effort will deploy a heavy law enforcement presence over the four-day weekend to arrest anyone caught driving under the influence. The other effort involves warrant sweeps that aimed to nab DUI suspects who had failed to show up for court or have violated probation terms from a DUI case.
Here in California, drivers should also be aware that one needn’t blow a .08 blood alcohol content level, since a lower BAC level could still be prosecuted as driving under the influence.
When one thinks of the amount of money that is paid out as a result of a DUI arrest and conviction, it is difficult to understand why anyone would take such a chance behind the wheel. Considering that DUI-related accidents also can be fatal, a fine shouldn’t be the only deterrent. If alcohol is in your New Year’s Eve plans, also plan to arrange for a ride home. Call a taxi, or designate someone to take you home.
Driving under the influence
Impaired drivers need to plan ahead.
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