As is the case every year around the holiday season, law enforcement is ramping up efforts to catch impaired drivers. California law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as well as the California Highway Patrol, are partnering with the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the anti-DUI campaign "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
From December 15th through January 1st, local law enforcement agencies will deploy an increased number of DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout California in high risk locations.
“This holiday season, drivers will notice increased enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired,” said Los Angeles Sheriff Department Sergeant Robert Hill.
“It is vital that we keep our roads and travelers safe, not just at the holidays, but every day. With extra travelers on the roads, and people attending holiday parties, we will likely see an uptick in drunk driving,” Hill said. “We’ll be arresting anyone we catch breaking this life-saving law.”
Nationwide in 2016, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 28 percent (10,497) died in crashes where a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the limit of .08. In California, 1,059 DUI deaths were reported at .08 or above.
Last year, CHP’s holiday "Maximum Enforcement Period," which ran from December 23rd to December 26th, saw 535 DUI arrests and 16 fatal collisions.
“Two simple words can keep your holiday festivities safe – plan ahead,” California Office or Traffic Safety Director Rhonda Craft said. “Before you head out to any celebration, plan how you are getting home safely. If you are drinking, that means knowing what sober driver or service you will be using.”
There are things that you can do to not become a statistic this holiday season.
People can download the Designated Driver VIP (DDVIP) free mobile app for Android or iPhone, which locates nearby bars and restaurants offering free incentives for the designated sober driver, from non-alcoholic drinks to appetizers and more. Just be sure that whomever has offered themselves up as the designated driver actually remains a sober designated driver. A designated driver who drinks, while they may have less than their passengers, is not a designated driver.
While some may still use public transportation to get home after drinking, others find it easier to just call an Uber or a Lyft right from their phone. Either way, with this many options to travel, there’s no excuse to get behind the wheel after drinking at a holiday party.
Although not the best option, if you do have a glass of wine at that holiday party and plan on driving home, maybe have with you a personal breathalyzer just to be safe. One wine or one beer or one drink might not put you over the limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. However, a person can still be arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI even if they’re below the legal limit as long as the alcohol affects their ability to drive. Having said that, some preventative measures, like knowing what your BAC is, are better than none.
And unfortunately, the least favorite option is the best option. The only way to have yourself a happy DUI-free holidays is refrain from drinking altogether. Egg nog without alcohol is just as good as egg nog with.