Police throughout the state of California made significantly more arrests for DUI (driving under the influence) this year over the 4th of July weekend than last year. Four hundred ninety (490) people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs across LA County during a 48-hour period from midnight Thursday to midnight Saturday, according to preliminary data released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. About 250 were arrested in Orange County.
Is that because more people are drinking and driving than in years past, or because local police departments statewide are cracking down on drunk driving? Or a combination of both?
We would like to think that with all the knowledge available to people about driving under the influence, organizations like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and more, as well as companies like Drunk Rescue that take people home in their own cars after they’ve had too much to drink – that drivers would be more likely to:
- plan ahead – by taking a cab, staying home, or arranging to stay the night somewhere
- use a designated driver
- simply stop drinking several hours before time to go home
Couple that with the fact that California leads the country in the number of sobriety checkpoints conducted annually; and according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, we are seeing historic low DUI death totals. Coincidence?
Perhaps our police departments are making a lot more arrests due to the anti-DUI enforcement operations in place. For that, we are grateful to our local and state law enforcement officers. It may be easy to think of it as “the cops just want to hassle us and make another arrest” when the real reason is that they want to prevent another death – another precious life lost – due to someone’s stupid decision to drive drunk.
The summer season is the deadliest time of year. There is NO GOOD REASON for driving under the influence. EVER.
Please respect law enforcement and work with them by reporting drunk drivers, drinking responsibly, and encouraging others to do the same. Here are some tips on how we can work together to make Orange County a safer place:
- NEVER drive drunk. EVER.
- Never get in the car with a driver who has been drinking.
- Take your friends’ keys if they try to drive after drinking. It may upset them now, but it could save them a DUI arrest, a totaled car, and even their life (or the lives of others).
- Plan ahead. If you plan to party, make arrangements to stay where you are until you sober up, get a ride home from a DD (designated driver) or someone who has not been drinking, or call a cab or Drunk Rescue.
- Call the police and report drunk drivers (or someone who appears to be drunk due to their erratic, unsafe driving).
- Model responsible behavior for others. Don’t overdo it on the alcohol – it could lead to much bigger problems than a DUI. Your judgment is impaired when you’ve been drinking, so make decisions ahead of time – not after a few beers. Tell another responsible person your plan so they can hold you to it.
Please be safe! Don’t drink and drive!