SACRAMENTO — The 2011 statewide DUI Crackdown kicked off Dec. 16 and continues through Jan. 2, just as many Californians are expected to hit the roads for the holidays. The effort includes increased enforcement and a new campaign aimed at drinkers in bars, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
“Receiving a DUI is an awful experience. Killing or injuring someone as a result of drunk driving is a horrendous crime that could have been easily avoided — during the holiday season, or at any time,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “Law enforcement will be out in force with a commitment to stopping drunk driving through increased checkpoint efforts, which have been proven as the most effective DUI countermeasure.”
DUI Task Forces in counties across the state will be setting up DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols. The Task Forces draw resources from local police, sheriff, and California Highway Patrol offices for operations that get impaired drivers off the road as well as make the public aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Specially trained officers will also be on hand to detect drivers under the influence of legal and illegal drugs, a growing problem on the state’s roadways.
“Before you raise a toast to the season, designate a non-drinking driver to ensure everyone makes it home safely,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “If you know a friend or family member who is about to drive and they’re under the influence, take the keys and help them find a safe way home.”
In support of the DUI Crackdown, OTS also announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign to continue to educate drivers year-round about the hazards of drunk driving. The RUOK? campaign is a statewide partnership between OTS and hundreds of bars and restaurants throughout California.
It is designed to reach patrons through engaging, thought provoking materials at the time and place where there is a higher risk of getting behind the wheel drunk. The creative campaign uses stupid questions like “What’s the best way to get better at air guitar” to highlight the idiocy similar to asking someone who is drunk if they are okay to drive.
“ABC will utilize all available law enforcement tools and programs it has to help make this the safest possible holiday season,” said Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Jacob Appelsmith.
Materials available in bars and restaurants include a QR code linking users to a GPS-enabled cab-finder mobile website. Users can search for a cab using the GPS function or by providing their zip/area code. Bar goers are also able to actively engage in campaign efforts by submitting their own “stupid” questions through social media outlets, including the new OTS Twitter and Facebook pages.