The California Highway Patrol announced Friday that up to 80 percent of its officers will be on the road looking for drunk drivers during the "holiday maximum enforcement period," which runs until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
"Unless you'd like to ring in 2008 on a roadside or in a local jail with law enforcement officers, have a designated driver if you are going to be out partying this weekend," CHP Commissioner Mike Brown said in a statement released Friday.
The anti-drunk driving effort is funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Funding will pay for overtime as well as 100 sobriety/driver license checkpoints and 65 DUI task force operations during 2008.
According to the CHP, 48 people died and 694 people were injured in alcohol related accidents in San Joaquin County in 2006. In Sacramento County, 55 people died and 1,415 were injured.
Statewide last year, 1,597 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes and 197,248 people were arrested for DUI.
"We are doing everything we can to end this carnage on our roadways," Brown said.
DUIs by the numbers
The average cost of an alcohol-related fatality in California: $3.8 million
Number of people arrested for DUI in 2006: 197,248.
Number of people injured in DUI crashes: 31,099
Number of people killed in DUI crashes: 1,597
Number of people killed in during New Year's weekend: 38.
Average blood alcohol content for someone convicted of DUI: 0.16.
Legal BAC limit: .08.
Sources: CHP, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Report drunk drivers
The CHP urges local residents to report suspected drunk drivers. Those driving under the influence of alcohol will often exhibit some of the following behaviors:
• weaving or zigzagging across the road
• driving off the road
• turning abruptly or illegally
• following others too closely
• signaling that is inconsistent with driving actions
• slow response to traffic signals, including sudden stops and delayed starts
• driving with headlights off.
To report drunk drivers, the CHP offers these guidelines:
• Call 911 and tell them you wish to report a drunk driver. You do not have to give your name.
• Give the exact location of the vehicle, include the name of the road or cross streets and the direction the vehicle is traveling.
• Give a complete description of the vehicle, such as make, model, color and license plate.
• Describe the manner in which the vehicle is being driven.
• Do not follow or try to stop the car or detain the driver. Leave that to law enforcement officers.
AAA to offer 'tipsy tow' on New Year's Eve
To avoid intoxicated people hitting the road this weekend, AAA of Northern California is once again offering its 'tipsy tow' program.
The service provides a one-way ride of up to five miles for the driver and his or her vehicle via a local tow truck. One passenger is welcome to take the ride to the driver's home as long as there is room.
AAA will offer the service to anyone, not just AAA members, from 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve to 6 a.m. on New Year's day. Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders and restaurant managers can call 1-800-222-4357 to arrange a free, safe ride.
Source: AAA of Northern California.