Labor Day weekend is coming up. For many Americans, that means an extra day off, backyard and beach barbecues, visiting friends and family, and the unofficial end of the summer season. Unfortunately, it also means a sharp increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities. Starting August 15 and continuing through September 1, local police, sheriff and the CHP will be aggressively targeting drunk and drugged drivers as part of a nationwide effort to end impaired driving and save lives. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will pair increased public awareness with high-visibility enforcement, resulting in fewer drunk drivers on San Luis Obispo County roads.
The Avoid the 14 DUI Task Force will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers throughout the region with plans in place for 1 DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint, a Multi-Agency Strike Team, 8 local roving DUI Saturation Patrols, a DUI Warrant/Probation Sweep and a DUI Court Sting targeting suspended drivers who were ordered by the judge not to drive. “We want to remind everyone that getting behind the wheel impaired is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, not only does drinking impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it also inhibits your judgment and good sense about whether you can, or should drive. If you have any doubt about your sobriety, do not get behind the wheel.
If you do choose to drive impaired, our mission it to find and arrest you. No warnings. No excuses,” said Steve Gesell, San Luis Obispo Chief of Police. In 2012, there were 10,322 people killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States. Over Labor Day weekend that year, 147 lost their lives to a drunk driver, more than a third (38 percent) of all traffic fatalities that weekend. Out of all the crash fatalities that weekend, one in four were attributed to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .15 percent or higher – almost twice the legal limit in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Every 51 minutes, someone is killed in a drunk-driving crash. Over the Labor Day weekend, those fatalities increase to one every 34 minutes. Nighttime is especially dangerous; almost half (46 percent) of the fatalities in nighttime crashes over the Labor Day weekend involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher, compared to 25 percent in daytime fatal crashes.