Like Cocktails, the Messages in Winter Holiday DUI Death, Wreck and Arrest Data are Mixed
"Avoid the 38," the anti-DUI task force composed of 38 Orange County law enforcement agencies, reports its crackdown that relied on sobriety checkpoints, special saturation patrols that focus on streets known for DUIs and routine patrols popped the 971 between 12:01 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Jan. 1.
The task force vows more such operations, which are funded through state and federal grants, will be held during Super Bowl weekend in February and St. Patrick's Day in March.
Besides "Avoid the 38," individual police agencies in Orange County issued press releases about their anti-DUI enforcement campaigns, including Costa Mesa Police, which reported no deaths compared to one the previous holiday season and five the year before that, while DUI-injury collisions also dipped. Meanwhile, Newport Beach Police revealed not one arrest was made during its holiday checkpoint.
The California Highway Patrol also reported no deaths on the Orange County roads it patrolled over the long New Year's holiday, but the CHP did make 71 arrests in this region, compared with 57 during the same holiday period a year before. Of course, with Jan. 1 falling on a Tuesday, the holiday weekend was longer than a year ago, too.
Spitzer acknowledges that annual state numbers show an overall double-digit drop over the past two years, but without citing any actual data he claims "the numbers in Orange County, alarmingly, are steadily on the rise."
To that end, he writes of hosting a "DUI Summit" in February to toss around preventative ideas with repressntatives from law enforcement, the Automobile Club, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the county Health Care Agency.
"The solutions currently in place (check points and saturation patrols, DUI media campaigns, responsible beverage service, social host ordinances)," Spitzer writes, "are just not enough."
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