As you celebrate the holiday season enjoying traditions, food, family and fun, be reminded that South Lake Tahoe police, Placerville police, El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol will be out in force from Dec. 16 to Jan. 2 to arrest anyone caught driving drunk behind the wheel.
“RUOK?” is the text message version of the often heard question, “Are you OK to drive?” If you have to ask someone the question you already know the answer. You know they have had too much to drink or are showing signs of being “buzzed.” You know that they are not OK to drive. Asking the question doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility. Call them a cab, take them home yourself, offer your couch.
Driver’s license checkpoints, multi-agency DUI task force deployments and roving DUI patrols are scheduled locally in partnership with law enforcement statewide and around the county during the Winter Holiday Anti-DUI Campaign. DUI checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Officers will be contacting drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. Grant funded drug recognition experts will be staffing most of the checkpoints.
DUI checkpoints, along with regularly scheduled high visibility DUI enforcement, are proven strategies with the goal of removing impaired drivers from the road and heightening awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sobriety checkpoint programs can yield considerable cost savings: $6 for every $1 spent.
“There will be no spreading holiday cheer behind the bars of a jail cell,” Tahoe police Sgt. Shannon Laney said. “Don’t let your 2011 holiday season end in an arrest or worse, death. Remember, whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk.”
In December 2009 there were 753 people killed nationwide in crashes that involved drivers or motorcycle riders with blood-alcohol concentrations of .08 percent or higher. In California 57 individuals died on the state’s streets and highways.
“The message is simple, drive sober or get pulled over. Drinking alcohol or being under the influence of drugs do not mix with driving. If you plan to consume alcohol, you should also plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle,” said Laney.
The sergeant recommends these simple tips for a safe holiday season:
• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home;
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement. Call 911.
The national drive sober or get pulled over crackdown is led by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the NHTSA, with the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign combining high-visibility enforcement and heightened public awareness through publicity.