DOWNEY – As summer winds down, the Downey Police Department is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving.
The 18-day, high-visibility campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," is a partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety to curb impaired driving and save lives.
Between Aug. 21 and Labor Day, Downey police officers and its law enforcement partners will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.
Downey Police Department kicks off Friday night by deploying two DUI saturation patrols during the first weekend. DUI enforcement will continue through Monday, Sept. 7, with more DUI saturation patrols on Friday, Aug 28, and a DUI/drivers license checkpoint on Friday, Sept. 4.
In 2013, there were 10,076 people killed in drunk–driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In California, 867 died in drunk driving collisions, according to NHTSA. Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.
More than a quarter (27 percent) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher – almost twice the illegal limit.
NHTSA data shows that repeat offenders are an especially dangerous facet of the drunk-driving problem. In the month of August from 2009-2013, of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, almost 1 out of 10 (8 percent) of them had already been convicted of at least one drunk-driving offense.
Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).
Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.
“Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects,” authorities said.
The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP) mobile app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices. Launched last year, the new DDVIP app offers enhanced features, allowing users to “Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or a “List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California.
Users will be offered free incentives at each bar to drive sober. The app also allows users to hail a ride through Uber, Lyft or Curb.