Those who take the risk to drink and drive stand a high probability of getting caught. Why? Because law enforcement is especially looking for the those driving under the influence through Labor Day. Agencies say the 'Avoid the 20' task force is proving successful.
Expecting to arrest up to 140 DUI suspects over 18 days, city and university police, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers in Monterey and San Benito Counties are heading into the Labor Day weekend at 114 arrests for serious crime, compared with 78 at the same time in last year’s campaign.
The Avoid the 20 effort, named for the number of law enforcement agencies in the two counties, gets its funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Salinas police traffic Sgt. Gerard Ross.
“We hope that the DUI arrest count will be much lower, maybe in the two digits,” says Ross.
In the last two years, the arrest total duplicated itself at 100.
Jurisdictions have been conducting sobriety checkpoints, in-city saturation patrols and maximum enforcement by the CHP’s three area commands, Hollister-Gilroy, Monterey and King City.
“The good news is that a DUI arrest is completely preventable, just use the good old designated sober driver method,” says Ross, “the bad news is that an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could cost as much as $10,000 when you add up all the various costs. Never mind that your insurance rates will go through the roof, if the insurance company doesn’t cancel your policy outright.”
The effort is part of a national NHTSA campaign with the title “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.