East County News Service
March 14, 2018 (El Cajon) — St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular holidays in the United States. With a plethora of Irish immigrants and many, many more St. Paddy’s Day well-wishers, the holiday is heavily celebrated by most Americans with friendly pinches, bangers n’ mash, and green beer galore. Sadly, all this merry-making can lead to dangerous driving conditions as party-goers head home.
In 2016 alone, 60 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Paddy’s Day holiday period from March 16th at 6 p.m. to March 18th at 6 a.m. nationwide.
“Drinking and driving can rip people from their friends and loved ones forever,” says Lieutenant Steve Kirk with the El Cajon Police Department, who warns that even one drink can be too many. The El Cajon Police Department will deploy additional officers on special DUI Saturation Patrols specifically to stop and arrest drivers showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment during the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Police, Sheriff and the CHP will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.
In recent years, California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. El Cajon PD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana use can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.
Remember: It’s not just about you. There are other people on the roads who want to get where they are going safely. Don’t let alcohol and or drug impairment cause you to be a risk to yourself and others on the road. Impaired driving is an act of selfishness. Before you put your keys in the ignition, remind yourself: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If you feel a buzz, you are in no shape to drive.
The El Cajon Police Department recommends the following safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- First: Always remember to plan ahead. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously—your friends are relying on you.
- There are many other ways to ensure a safe ride home besides relying on a friend. The OTS DDVIP app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices. The app offers enhanced features, allowing users to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California. Additionally, the app users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb.
- Use your community’s sober ride program.
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely.
- Always remember to report drunk drivers - call 911.
This enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.