Do you think there are more inebriated drivers on the road as the summer season winds down and Labor Day approaches in two weeks?
Well, law-enforcement agencies in Santa Clara County think that there are and to give motorists plenty of warning that they'll have zero tolerance for intoxicated drivers, they held a news conference Friday to announce their stepped up DUI crackdown that began Aug. 17 and continues until the holiday, Monday, Sept. 3.
Just like last year, the Santa Clara County "Avoid the 13" DUI Task Force is joining with public safety personnel throughout the state for what it's calling its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, multi-agency DUI task force deployments and local roving DUI patrols are scheduled locally also in partnership with law enforcement nationwide.
Supporting safety officials in bringing home the message that drunk driving kills are Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which issues data on the crime.
One statistic cited by the campaign: In 2010, 791 people died in California in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. The age group with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes was the 21-to-24 age group.
“On average there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America. But this tragic loss of life can be reduced if we get impaired drivers off our roadways,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.
“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this statewide wide effort, we will make Santa Clara County’s roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period.”
CHP, police and Santa Clara County sheriff deputies will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers during the 18-day crackdown and will arrest anyone they find driving while impaired.
CHP will deploy all available officers during the Labor Day holiday weekend onto freeways and county roads they patrol, officials said about the effort.
“Obviously we want to remind everyone that it is illegal to drive impaired, and we hope the campaign will remind people that if they plan on drinking, to never get behind the wheel,” said Sheriff Smith. “But if someone does choose to drive impaired, we will arrest them. No warnings. No excuses.”
According to the Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force, violators will face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlock devices, or breath alcohol ignition detection systems installed on a vehicle's dashboard to prevent drivers exceeding the legal blood-alochol level from driving.