Friday, November 21, 2008

California DUI curb efforts by San Luis Obispo California

California DUI criminal defense attorneys and California drunk driving criminal defense attorneys at are told Police will push to curb drinking and driving this holiday season by collective solidarity to reduce and eliminate drunk driving incidents in San Luis Obispo County. The countywide effort begins in earnest on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and culminates at midnight on Thursday, Jan. 1, New Year's Day.

California DUI representatives from local, county and state law enforcement agencies gathered in front of the Rotunda in Atascadero Thursday in a high profile show of collective solidarity to reduce and eliminate California DUI drunk driving incidents in San Luis Obispo County.

The countywide California DUI law enforcement and public awareness effort begins in earnest on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and culminates at midnight on Thursday, Jan. 1, New Year’s Day. Police and fire personnel, the California Highway Patrol and SLO County Sheriff’s deputies are requesting that community members report drivers who appear to be California DUI - intoxicated by calling 911.

Atascadero Police Department Chief Jim Mulhall said those drivers who are intoxicated would be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of California DUI law and those drivers who are determined not to be under the influence but have a medical emergency or other problem but perhaps are driving unsafely will get the help they need. He said the one exception to the cell phone law is when a driver calls in an emergency, including reporting a California DUI - drunk driving hazard.

“We want people to get on the phone and call 911 and the California Highway Patrol or a local law enforcement agency will respond to their request,” he said. “We want residents to provide a make and model of the vehicle and the route the driver is taking. We want them to become an observer of other drivers on the road. Their swift action can help other drivers stay safe and prevent an accident or a death. We have received state grants that enable us to tackle the issue by reducing the number of citizens endangered by those drinking alcohol and driving.”

SLO County DUI Task Force spokesperson Kim Mott said the county has mounted a concerted effort to turn the tide of California DUI - drunk driving incidents. She said a large part of the California DUI effort is prevention and public awareness.

“The Winter Holiday Kickoff will be disseminating information on how to report DUI drivers when dialing 911,” she said. “The kick-off will also be making sure the public is aware that local police departments, the Sheriff’s office and the California Highway Patrol will be leaning hard on drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs this holiday season as ‘AVOID the 14’ heads into its second Winter Holiday Crackdown.”

Mott said the county task force wants to warn county residents that the cost of a first-time DUI offense is $12,000 including the cost of the arrest, legal defense and other costs that mount in the aftermath of an arrest. She said law enforcement is encouraging residents to take more responsibility for their actions by remaining home or securing a safe ride home instead of ruining their holiday or that of an innocent bystander by committing a California DUI offense.

Mott said law enforcement wants to reverse the six-year trend countywide of increased DUI-related traffic collisions and fatalities during the holiday season and ensure that drivers countywide navigate through the holidays safely.

During the press conference, Mulhall outlined the winter mobilization and what important information is needed when they are calling 911 to report an impaired driver. He said police chiefs throughout the county meet monthly to insure they are making a concerted effort to address the California DUI drunk driving problem and other common law enforcement problems.

Mulhall said he hopes to see the same kind of partnership between community based organizations, businesses and schools to ensure that greater safety is preserved on the roads and highways countywide.

The agencies united in the “Avoid the 14” effort include the cities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly and Cuesta College Police Departments.

The State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation, the California Highway Patrol, San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Probation Department are also members, along with SLO County Drug and Alcohol Services.

“The goal of the ‘Avoid the 14’ is to act as a deterrent to the crime of California DUI - driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug,” Mott said. “The ‘Avoid the 14’ wants to substantially reduce alcohol-related crashes, injuries and deaths in our community over the winter holiday season.”

The California Office of Traffic Safety’s mission is to obtain and effectively administer traffic safety grant funds to reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from traffic-related collisions.

Mulhall said the state OTS grant, which has been in existence since the 1970s, has enabled local and countywide law enforcement to maintain its zero-tolerance policy toward drunk driving from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and pay for necessary police overtime hours, saturation enforcement and California DUI checkpoints that make the general population safer on the roads and highways throughout the county without encumbering the general funds from cities or counties or taking police officers off their regular beat.