CHP stepping up DUI enforcement

Statewide, an average of 3.5 people were killed and 87 were
injured every day during 2001 in alcohol-related automobile
accidents.
Statewide, an average of 3.5 people were killed and 87 were injured every day during 2001 in alcohol-related automobile accidents.

More than 176,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence and alcohol was involved in 40 percent of all fatal crashes in the last year, according to state statistics.

The California Highway Patrol is going to do something to change those statistics through a special enforcement effort called Drunk and Drugged Driving Month.

Popularly known as “3D Month,” the campaign is a national campaign made up of a coalition of public agencies and private businesses dedicated to reducing alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.

“Removing impaired drivers from our state’s highways has always been important in California, particularly during the holidays,” CHP Commander D.O. “Spike” Helmick said. “If you think you can get away with drinking and driving, consider yourself forewarned. The Highway Patrol along with many other law enforcement agencies will be looking for you.”

3D Month started about 16 years ago as part of a one-week effort by the National Office of Traffic Safety, but it became so popular and successful that other agencies across the country adopted it, and the observance was changed to a month instead of a week.

Drugs and alcohol impair a motorist’s reaction time. Traveling at just 50 mph is the same as traveling at 75 feet per second, and 10 additional seconds to react to something will cause a vehicle to travel the length of more than three football fields, the CHP said.

State law takes a dim view of drinking and driving with increasingly tougher laws and sentences. A motorist convicted of a first DUI offense can expect to spend five days in jail, according to the district attorney’s office. A second DUI conviction will get 30 days in jail and a third conviction six months. Subsequent DUI convictions will result in a stay in a state prison.

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