Avoid Kern County DUI Task Force Plans Holiday Crackdown To Stop Impaired Driving and Save Lives

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Heads up to holiday party-goers!  To help save lives this holiday season, law enforcement from throughout Kern County is launching a special “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown to stop impaired drivers and to save lives on our roadways.

The Kern County DUI Avoid Task Force is announcing that officers and deputies will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers and will arrest anyone caught driving under the influence.  Enforcement efforts will include:  DUI / Driver License Checkpoints, local DUI saturation patrols, a Multi-Agency DUI Taskforce strike team patrol, and a DUI Warrant / Probation sweep.  The CHP will deploy all available officers during two Maximum Enforcement Periods – Christmas and New Year’s Weekends. The special enforcement crackdown will run from December 14, 2012, through January 1, 2013.

“Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, and we want everyone to be safe on our roadways.” said Sergeant Graydon Argast, local Avoid coordinator.  “That’s why we will be stepping up enforcement to catch and arrest impaired drivers.  Please be forewarned.  If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses.”

During 2010, more than 10,000 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving an impaired driver and in Californian 791 people died on our state’s streets and highways. Locally, almost one-third of fatal collisions that year involved impaired drivers.

The holiday season is a particularly dangerous time. During December 2010, 30 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crash involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Data also shows that among those alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities, 71 percent occurred when drivers had nearly twice the legal limit blood alcohol concentration of .15 % BAC or higher. 

No one ever thinks that their holiday celebration will end in jail, or worse, in a hospital or the morgue, but for those who include alcohol in their celebrations and then get behind the wheel; this is too often the case.   

Heads Up – violators face jail time, loss of driver license, and steep financial consequences such as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job.

The Avoid Kern County Coalition said there are three simple steps people can take to stay safe and out of trouble:

  1. Plan ahead.  If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Designate a sober driver or find another safe way home.  Drinking increases the risk of a crash while driving a motor vehicle, period.  
  2. If you are impaired, find another way home.  Use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call a local designated driver service. They can take you, and your car.
  3. Be responsible.  If someone you know is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel.  If you see an impaired driver on the road, Report Them - Call 911!  Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life. 

“We want everyone to enjoy their holidays, but we also want our roadways to be safe,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Police, Sheriffs and the CHP will be out in force to help save lives, and they are not going to tolerate impaired driving. So remember, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’ They will be watching.”

The national Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown is led by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and NHTSA, with the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign combining high-visibility enforcement and heightened public awareness through publicity. The program is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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