Driving Under the Influence, DUI Prevention
Every 30 minutes someone in America dies because of an impaired driver, and every two minutes someone is injured by an impaired driver. Everybody is at risk, including you and your family and friends.
The Elk Grove Police Department and NHTSA are committed to reducing alcohol and drug-related traffic deaths. The message behind campaigns aimed at eliminating DUI is simple: make the right choice—don’t drink and drive. As simple as it sounds, thousands of Americans continue to make wrong choices every year. Oftentimes, their decision to drink and drive results in the injury or death of themselves or another. But this loss extends beyond the pain inflicted upon friends and family. Everyone pays for impaired driving with higher taxes, higher health care costs, and higher insurance premiums.
Sober Graduation & Zero Tolerance
Throughout the month of June, young people are preparing to graduate from high school and college. Graduation is a joyous event often sullied by the decision to drink and drive. Why not make graduation an alcohol-free celebration? Out-of-town friends and family members have already traveled long distances to take part in the celebration of graduation—don’t force them to stay for your funeral.
Research has shown that underage impaired drivers are involved in fatal traffic collisions twice as many times as adult drivers, and 36 percent of all fatal crashes for underage drivers involve alcohol. In response, NHTSA and law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have adopted a zero tolerance policy toward underage drivers. Zero tolerance ensures that underage drivers will face stiff penalties if they are caught drinking and driving.
If an underage driver is found to have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .01 to .04, the person will lose their driver’s license for one year. If the person has no driver’s license, DMV will not allow the person to apply for their license until one year has elapsed. Many times, young drivers who are guilty of violating zero tolerance are subject to harsher penalties since they are breaking two laws: Driving-Under-the-Influence and underage drinking.
The Facts about Alcohol Impairment
It is common knowledge that alcohol impairment contributes to traffic collisions; however, most people believe that drivers must be "drunk" to be considered a hazard behind the wheel. Actually, the probability of a collision increases with any driver who has a BAC higher than zero. This probability substantially increases when a driver’s BAC reaches 0.08 percent. Although a person may appear sober, if they have consumed any amount of alcohol, their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle has usually been impaired. Although alcohol-related collisions tend to peak at night and during the weekend, they can and do occur at all hours of the day and involve individuals from all walks of life.
You Drink & Drive, You Lose
Reducing alcohol-related traffic deaths is one of NHTSA’s top priorities because impaired driving crashes are preventable. In 1998, over 15,000 people were killed as a result of DUI. The national goal is to lower the death toll to no more than 11,000 by the year 2005. In order to meet this challenge, NHTSA launched a national campaign known as "You Drink and Drive, You Lose." From July 1 through July 4, law enforcement agencies nationwide will step-up their DUI enforcement efforts; but participation is not limited to law enforcement personnel. Your participation in the "You Drink & Drive, You Lose," campaign is easy:
- Support your local law enforcement agency in their efforts to remove impaired drivers from the streets.
- Raise awareness in your community about the deadly consequences of impaired driving. This can start right at home by talking openly to your children.
- Don’t let friends or family members get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking, even if they don’t appear to be impaired.
- Become active in your community. You can educate the public and encourage responsible behavior.
- Set an example: Don’t Drink and Drive!
How You Can Intervene - Get the Keys:
If someone you know has been drinking and is about to drive, make every effort to stop them. If possible, take their car keys away, you may save a life. The following tips may help:
- Try using a soft and calm approach. Suggest that the person call a cab or better yet, offer to drive them home.
- Make light of the situation and joke about the person’s condition. A person under-the-influence will probably not be receptive to a confrontation. (i.e., "Hey man, I wouldn’t drive if I were you, you might run a cat over or something.")
- Have somebody distract the person and then take their keys while they are preoccupied. They will be forced to find alternative transportation.
Daily Traffic Mission
It is the responsibility of all motorists and pedestrians to observe all traffic laws as described in the California Vehicle Code; the daily mission of uniformed officers is to ensure the safe movement of traffic and enforce the Primary Collision Factors that cause traffic collisions. The following are the top five causes of traffic collisions that often combine to create serious safety hazards:
- Speed violations
- Red light violations
- Right-of-way violations
- Pedestrian violations
- Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI)
It is the responsibility of every uniformed officer to enforce the violations of the California Vehicle Code, educate citizens on the importance of traffic safety, and make every effort to remove alcohol-impaired drivers from City streets. These efforts, combined with the active participation of community members following the rules of the road, will help ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians throughout the City.