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By Sgt. K. Trotter, El Cajon Police

August 28, 2018 (El Cajon) — As we enter the final stretch of summer spending time at the pool or barbequing with friends and family, El Cajon Police Department is driving home the importance of celebrating responsibly by not driving, or riding a motorcycle, impaired. 

From Aug. 17 through Sept. 3, El Cajon Police Department is participating in a high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.  During this period, Police and Sheriff’s Departments statewide, along with the California Highway Patrol, will increase the number of officers on the road to stop suspected drunk or drug impaired drivers and motorcyclists. If you are caught driving or riding impaired, you will be pulled over and arrested. 

El Cajon Police Department will have a special emphasis during this 18-day mobilization to enforce all traffic violations by deploying DUI Saturation Patrols on the following date(s):  August 31, September 1 and September 3, 2018.

The enforcement campaign runs through the Labor Day holiday weekend, which is one of the deadliest times of year in terms of alcohol-involved traffic deaths. Sadly, one-third of all traffic deaths involve drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes, or one person every 50 minutes. 

“It’s up to drivers to make the smart decision and drive sober not just for this enforcement period, but every day”, said Sgt. K Maxwell. “This isn’t about ticketing. This is a campaign to get the message out that driving impaired is illegal and takes lives.”  

El Cajon Police Department will show zero tolerance for impaired driving or riding and joins efforts by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to educate drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning label, you may be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana can also be impairing and result in a DUI, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs. 

In the ten years from 2005-2015, the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with an impairing drug other than alcohol in their system has risen from 26.2 percent to 42.6 percent.  As far back as 2012, a roadside survey in California showed more drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).   

During this national enforcement campaign, there will also be increased state and national messages about the dangers of riding impaired, which combined with enforcement, aims to drastically reduce drunk or drug impaired riding on our nation’s roadways. 

Motorcycles require specific training and skill. When a rider adds alcohol, marijuana or impairing prescription medication to the mix, it is not only illegal, but increases the risky nature of riding a motorcycle. 

There are so many options out there to get home safely. There is no excuse for getting behind the wheel when you are impaired. 

To avoid a DUI and putting others, and yourself, at risk, El Cajon Police Department has a few tips to stay safe on the roads:

  • Always designate a sober driver. 
  • Use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home. 
  • Use your community’s sober ride program [Insert your local sober ride program specifics here]
  • Have a friend or family member who is about to drive buzzed or impaired? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely.
  • Report drunk drivers - call 911. 

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to El Cajon Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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And something else...

Could the ECPD please enforce the laws regarding loud modified exhaust systems on vehicles? Some of the cars that speed past my place are very loud. Probably have those exhaust tips installed. You know, the ones that are technically illegal to put on a car, yet sold at many places? These divers disturbing the peace and quiet of El Cajon usually have their "music" playing loud with Very heavy bass as well (also illegal). I don't know which is more annoying. Can you help? Thank you.

Good to know

Sober citizens will no doubt appreciate this news, thank you ECPD. Now how about more traffic enforcement as promised. I still see people exhibiting terrible driving habits such as: speeding, not using turn indicators, not respecting the pedestrian right of way, people parking their vehicles in No Parking zones (often overnight) and in front of fire hydrants, running red lights (sometimes 3 & 4 vehicles at a time!) plus many bicycle riders using the city sidewalks, often in an aggressive manner, pedestrians jaywalking, juveniles not wearing helmets while riding bicycles and scooters. Basically it seems that nothing has changed as far as traffic safety enforcement. As a full time pedestrian, I notice many things which need to be addressed on a continuous basis. I still suggest some type of foot patrol in the downtown corridor / super block. That way officers are visible and can help prevent even more problems that are popping up frequently. I recall when we had the 'Safe & Clean' people walking around downtown. Highly visible, cleaned up debris and were helpful 'eyes and ears' for the Police. Maybe they could be brought back. Thanks for listening...