Author: PIO Margo Rohrbacher
Date: August 17, 2016 10:23 AM

This Labor Day, Remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The Avoid the 13 Marin County DUI Task Force Shows Zero Tolerance 

In Its Goal to End Drunk Driving

San Rafael, CA – August 16, 2016.  This Labor Day weekend, families and friends will be celebrating the end of the summer. Sadly, this festive time has also become a dangerous time on America's roadways, as many drunk drivers get behind the wheel after celebrating. For this reason, the Avoid the 13 Marin County DUI Task Force is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to stop drunk drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs August 19 through September 5, 2016. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with sobriety checkpoints and increased numbers of officers working DUI Saturation Patrols on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roads.

The County's DUI Task Force effort kicks off this Friday evening, August 19th, with a DUI/Driver's License checkpoint in the city of Sausalito, and another on Saturday, August 27th in San Anselmo. Roving saturation patrols specifically on the lookout for drunk and impaired drivers will be on the streets throughout Marin at various times during the 18 day DUI campaign period.   In addition, Police, Sheriff, and the California Highway Patrol’s routine patrols will be extra vigilant looking for the tell-tale signs of impaired drivers. 

According to NHTSA, on average, over 10,000 people died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes nationwide while California recorded 882 deaths. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend (6 p.m. August 29 – 5:59 a.m. September 2), 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher, which was the highest percentage over the five-year period.  And we’re not just talking about a little bit of alcohol, either. More than a quarter (28%) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with blood alcohol levels of .15 or higher—almost twice the illegal limit.

In addition, nighttime proves to be the most dangerous time to be out on the road: during the 2014 Labor Day holiday period, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. – as compared to half of all drunk-driving crash fatalities throughout the rest of that year. 

"People need to understand that drunk driving is not only deadly, but it is illegal," said San Rafael's Police Chief Diana Bishop. "Drunk driving is a massive problem in the United States, with more than 10,000 people dying annually. Drivers need to pay attention to their own driving, but also to others on the road who could be driving drunk," she added. “It is your business. If you think you see a drunk driver, report them – call 911."

The reality is that people aren’t invincible. Of the 9,967 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2014, 64 percent were the drunk drivers themselves. Those 6,391 drunk drivers thought they would make it to their destinations, but they were dead wrong. 

"This is important to remember: do not trust yourself when you drink," said Chief Bishop. "You may think you aren't drunk, but law enforcement will know you are. Law enforcement officers' skills in detecting and identifying drunk drivers have never been better. They will spot you and arrest you."

The Avoid the 13 DUI Coalition reminds everyone:

  • Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver or arrange rides home for your friends, family, co-workers and yourself before the drinking begins. Call a taxi or get a ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb.
  • Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or "DDVIP," free mobile app for Android or iPhone.  The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more.  The feature-packed app even has social media tie-ins and even a tab for the non-DD to call Uber, Lyft or Curb.
  • DRUGS, MEDICATION & ALCOHOL = CRASHES:  Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).  Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. 
  • If you see dangerous driving, Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1!

As the summer winds to an end, remember that there’s no excuse for drunk or impaired driving. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Marin County Summer/Labor Day Operations Schedule:

  • A DUI/driver's license checkpoint in Sausalito on Friday, August 19th from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am
  • A DUI/driver's license checkpoint in San Anselmo on Saturday, August 27th from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am
  • Roving patrols specifically on the lookout for drunk and impaired drivers will operate throughout the County at various times from August 19th through Labor Day, September 5th

The Avoid DUI Task Force is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  

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Last Modified: August 17, 2016 1:28 EDT (by Holm)

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