Drunk Driving increases in California for ThanksgivingAs expected, more drivers have been arrested for drunk driving on the highways over the Thanksgiving weekend. Orange County police officers and other California highway patrol officers noted that by Saturday DUI arrest were up an estimated 16 percent over last year to 44 DUI arrest compared with an estimated 37 arrests which were made in Orange County in 2011. California reported that statewide there were 840 drunk driving arrests, down from 903 in 2011. Reporting was done through midnight on Sunday night and data is gathered by the California Highway patrol. Since Thursday the state has had seventeen DUI related deaths which is three more than in 2011. Los Angeles and Ventura counties have not released their final numbers. If you live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you may have also seen more police cars on patrol. Pittsburg police officers and other agencies worked in a coordinated effort to identify drunk drivers beginning Saturday, running through early Sunday morning. Pittsburg also reported drunk driving arrests and deaths have increased since last year, even though they had been declining in the previous three years, according to police. The loss of life, which is the most significant impact of a DUI, is not the only loss. It is estimated that the financial impact can also be substantial. DUI injuries can cost up to $70,000 in losses and a death can have a financial impact of $1.4 million. The overwhelming message from police officers throughout the United States is that drivers can expect to see law enforcement officers increasing their regular patrols throughout the holiday season. The goal of increased law enforcement is to save more lives. Nationwide, nearly 40 percent of all fatal collisions are caused by an impaired driver.
Steps to Avoid Drunk DrivingIf you are going to drive this holiday season, not just on Thanksgiving but throughout Christmas and New Years, police officers have several recommendations:
- Plan ahead. Dont wait until after the holiday festivities to make a plan. Plan a safe way home BEFORE you go out to celebrate.
- Do not mix medication or drugs. Many drivers only consider the effects of drugs on driving, even prescription medications. Medication can impair driving just like alcohol.
- If you are going to drink find a designated driver and leave your keys at your house.
- Report impaired drivers to authorities before they injure or kill another driver.
- Use public transportation or call someone if you find yourself without a safe ride home.