December 30, 2009 > DUI Crackdown
By Meenu Gupta
Once holiday parties end, often drunk or buzzed drivers take to the streets. Alameda County's Avoid the 21 enforcement campaign reminds everyone partying during these festive times to use a designated driver. The campaign is part of a statewide effort to remove intoxicated drivers from the roads and educate motorists about the consequences of driving while impaired. Avoid the 21, named for the 21 police agencies in Alameda County, is part of a nine-county Regional Avoid Campaign in the Bay Area. The annual holiday campaign is a 250-officer DUI strike team leading intensive holiday enforcement efforts. Police use saturation patrols and checkpoints. Those caught driving impaired are subject to arrest. Violators will face jail time, loss of driving privileges, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, and other expenses.
According to Jan Ford, public information official for Avoid the 21 campaign, Hayward, Newark, Union City have planned sobriety checkpoints as part of the campaign. Maximum freeway enforcement will be conducted around New Year's Eve and Day. All police agencies will send out DUI patrols within their jurisdictions and emphasize DUI enforcement with officers on regular beats. Another large DUI team will cover the Oakland Raiders' game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, January 3.
The 17-day campaign ends January 3, 2010. Last year as many as 1,323 DUI suspects were arrested over the holidays. According to The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) statewide DUI arrests in 2008 were 214,811, the highest since 1993. Call 9-1-1 if you see a drunk driver, with the description of the vehicle and its location. For more information visit www.californiaavoid.org