A campaign to reduce the number of collisions caused by impaired drivers, supported by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), will focus on education and enforcement. “Statewide Impaired Driving Enforcement” (SIDE) will run for one year, from October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017.
The SIDE grant will enable the CHP to conduct additional driving under the influence (DUI) saturation patrols, DUI checkpoints, and traffic safety education efforts throughout California. A saturation patrol is a concentrated enforcement effort that targets impaired drivers by observing moving violations. During a sobriety checkpoint, law enforcement evaluates drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment at certain points on the roadway. A saturation patrol is generally spread over a larger geographic area than a sobriety checkpoint.
“Reducing impaired driving through education and enforcement remains a high priority, and this campaign provides us another opportunity to further that goal,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “As a public safety organization, we will continue to do everything in our power to promote safety on California’s roadways.”
The Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System of the CHP shows that in 2014, impaired driving collisions in California resulted in 645 deaths and 10,478 injuries. Each of these collisions represents a preventable tragedy that had a profound effect on all those involved.
The CHP will also actively participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign as part of the continuing efforts to remove impaired drivers from the roadway to prevent injuries, property damage, and the loss of life.
The CHP reminds the public to call 9-1-1 if they see a suspected impaired driver and only if it is safe to make a call. Callers should be prepared to provide a location, direction of travel, and vehicle description. Drivers are also reminded to plan ahead: designate a sober driver, call a friend or family member, or call a cab or rideshare service. There is always a better option than getting behind the wheel while impaired.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from OTS, through NHTSA.