The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday, a time for our country to reflect on the hard work of our fellow Americans. The long weekend is celebrated through picnics, pool parties, and barbecues, as families and friends enjoy the last few days of summer before fall and winter approach. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday is also one of the deadliest, with alcohol and drug impaired drivers endangering themselves and others on America’s roadways.
This year, Eureka PDis partnering with police, Sheriffs and the CHP across the state to stop impaired drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 18 through September 4, 2017.
Statistics nationwide show a dangerous trend in impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015, a three percent rise in deaths over 2014. That’s roughly one person killed every 51 minutes in 2015. That’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. This is why Eureka PDis working to remind drivers that impaired driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.
Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.
In recent years, California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. Eureka PD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana use can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.
Plan your sober ride home before the party begins as end of summer activities wraps up. It is never okay to drive impaired. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.
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.
Have family or a friend who is about to drive buzzed or impaired? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely. The cost of a ride home is cheap. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.
Funding for this DUI operation is provided to Eureka Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1’.