There's a storm coming for DUI offenders in California in general and Sacramento in particular, according to a series of announcements this week.
The California Highway Patrol and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office announced major expansions in apprehension and prosecution of DUI drivers paired with more emphasis on preventive programs.
The latest announced from the CHP was the agency has received nearly $5.6 million for the "Border-to-Border DUI Enforcement Campaign." The overall goal of the campaign is to reduce alcohol-involved collisions and victims, statewide by at least 5 percent.
Earlier today, Sacramento DA Jan Scully announced the receipt of a $1 million grant to form a team for the prosecution and prevention of DUI-related injuries or deaths. The grant also includes funding for education and prevention programs.
Earlier in the week, the CHP announced that the agency has dedicated more than $1 million federal grant money to California's Designated Driver Program through August 2010.
The Designated Driver Program consists of community education presentations and information booths staffed by CHP officers throughout the state
The latest CHP announcement said that in addition to enforcing DUI laws, officers will enforce all other traffic safety laws such as speeding, unsafe passing and occupant violations. The CHP will also conduct sobriety/driver license checkpoints and DUI task force operations.
Last year, according to the Department of Justice, 217,201 people were arrested statewide for DUI; the CHP was responsible for roughly 45 percent of those arrests.
"Sadly, despite aggressive enforcement and public awareness efforts by our officers, impaired driving continues in California," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Every time you get behind the wheel after drinking, you put your life and the lives of others at risk."
According to CHP's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System there were 65,929 fatal and injury collisions in the CHP jurisdiction in 2008.
Among those 9,568 were alcohol-involved collisions. These same collisions resulted in 837 victims killed and 13,140 victims injured.
The CHP also will conduct local traffic safety presentations and Designated Driver Programs to thousands of people throughout California during the course of the grant period which ends September 20, 2010.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.