Local law enforcement officials gathered outside the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department recently to warn the public about the dangers of drinking and driving.
With the Labor Day weekend just around the corner, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in full swing. The Labor Day weekend has been designated as one of the four most dangerous driving times of the year based on collision and traffic numbers. NHTSA has given local law enforcement agencies a $130,000 grant to step up patrols, conduct warrant sweeps, and set up drunk driving checkpoints.
Law enforcement representatives from various police agencies, including Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Guadalupe, and UCSB gathered along with political representatives to stress that driving drunk is not worth it.
A senior deputy with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department told the gathering that there were 2,841 DUI arrests in Santa Barbara County last year. He also stressed that people should find a safe way home if they know they will be drinking.
“I can’t tell you how many drivers I’ve arrested that said they were the designated drivers,” he said.
A recent study found that nearly 40 percent of designated drivers actually had something to drink and that nearly 20 percent of those had enough to drink to significantly impair their ability to drive.
Experts recommend that a designated driver be recruited before festivities begin (as opposed to choosing the least intoxicated person during a party) and to make sure it is a person who can be trusted. That person has to agree not to drink before or during the party. Promise the designated driver that you will take your turn in the future. If the designated driver has been drinking, call a sober friend or grab a cab.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Renée J. Nordstrand have seen the devastation caused by drunk drivers up close. Lives have been turned upside down and loved ones have been lost due to their negligence. Play it safe this Labor Day weekend. The end of summer should not mean the end of somebody’s life.