As we enter the final stretch of summer, spending time at the pool or barbequing with friends and family, the Newport Beach Police Department would like to remind everyone of the importance of celebrating responsibly. Newport Beach DUI Police Officers will be conducting DUI Saturation Patrols from Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3, 2018, in support of our ongoing efforts to stop drunk driving and help save lives. Officers will be patrolling the areas of our city with the highest frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests, looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes in 2016, which is an average of one person every 50 minutes. Unfortunately, the Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the deadliest times of year in terms of alcohol-involved traffic deaths, with a third of all fatal collisions involving drunk drivers.
“We are dedicated to the safety of our residents and visitors every day,” said Chief Jon T. Lewis. “During this holiday weekend, we’re putting more officers on the road to watch for the signs of impaired driving. This is not about writing tickets, or making arrests; it’s about getting the message out to everyone that you have to be sober when you get behind the wheel. Impaired driving is illegal, and it can be deadly.”
The Newport Beach Police Department supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a warning about driving or operating machinery on the label, you might be impaired enough to be arrested for DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing (especially when used in combination with alcohol or other drugs) and can result in a DUI arrest.
In the ten years from 2005-2015, the number of drivers in fatal collisions who had a drug other than alcohol in their system rose from 26.2% to 42.6%. As far back as 2012, a study of active drivers showed that 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 impairment.
If you will be drinking, plan your sober ride home before the festivities begin. Remember these tips to stay safe on the road:
· Designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or use a ride-sharing service to get home safely.
· If a friend or family member is trying to drive while they’re impaired, take away their keys and make arrangements to get them home safely.
· If you see a drunk driver, call 911.
Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the Newport Beach Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.