Efforts to crack down on California DUI drunken drivers on Barstow’s streets, highways and intestates during the holidays have already begun.
The Barstow Police Department started its major California DUI enforcement efforts on Friday. They will continue until the beginning of 2007, according to the California DUI police. The operation’s primary focus is to keep drunken drivers off our streets by arresting drivers through DUI saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints. Officer Chris Cochran with the California Office of Traffic Safety said the two operations produce different outcomes.
“The patrols catch more active drunken drivers. However the checkpoints do a much better job at educating and providing a deterrent effect,” he said. “We’re all about keeping people from getting killed, not just catching California DUI drunken drivers.”
Last year, nearly 1,600 people were killed in alochol-related collisions. Cochran said there is an increase of alcohol-related fatalities during the two-week period leading up to Christmas and New Years Day. He said a combination of parties, celebrations, traveling to places, weather and a few drinks place a lot of people on the road who should not be. Fatalities during the holiday period are high compared to the rest of the year. However, Cochran said the most California DUI fatalities occur over the Labor Day weekend in September.
The California DUI police department’s program is part of the countywide “Avoid the 25” task force. The task force consists of 25 agencies across the county, including the California Highway Patrol, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Officers from alcohol beverage control will concentrate efforts to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors by conducting sting operations throughout the county to catch people buying and selling alcohol to those under 21.
Statewide efforts to reduce California DUI drunken driving will start on Saturday and run through the end of the year. According to the CHP, more the 450 agencies across the state will conduct checkpoints. During some periods, the CHP will have nearly 80 percent of its officers on the roadways looking for California DUI drunken drivers.