California DUI criminal defense lawyers and California drunk driving criminal defense attorneys are told You ve heard it before, but with the stakes as high as they can get it bears repeating don t drink and drive.
That was the message echoed at a press conference Monday for Tehama County s Avoid the Five campaign, part of the state-wide AVOID program.
More than 540 agencies in 41 counties are participating in the program, which was launched in 1973 to bring law enforcement agencies together to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving.
In 2007, more than 30,000 people were injured and 1,491 died in alcohol involved driving incidents in California. In Tehama County there were 103 injuries and three deaths.
Tehama County s Avoid the Five program will include a Dec. 26 DUI checkpoint in the Los Molinos area and saturation patrols around Red Bluff on Dec. 27.
Corning Police Chief Tony Cardenas said last year more than 1,200 drivers were screened at the holiday DUI checkpoints and roving saturation patrols produced around 500 traffic stops. Those patrols led to 24 arrests and nine additional criminal arrests, unrelated to alcohol.
In 2007, there were 958 DUI arrests in Tehama County, of those, 30 were felony counts.
District Attorney Gregg Cohen said drivers need to think about the ramifications involved before they take the wheel, but they should also consider less personal reasons.
I would hope the real reason you would choose not to drink and drive is you might kill someone, he said.
Cohen also spoke about the county s recent DUI fatality cases and how often it is a loved one that ends up being tragically injured.
If you re willing to drink and drive, who are you willing to injure?
Who are you willing to kill?, Cohen said.
The Avoid the Five campaign was named after the five Tehama County law enforcement agencies who began the program, the Red Bluff and Corning Police Departments, Tehama County Sheriff and District Attorney Departments and the local California Highway Patrol.
In recent years the California Probation Department has also joined the program to provide holiday checks on paroled DUI offenders.
Cardenas said the idea is to also have an impact on those individuals more likely to drink and drive.
Tehama County has received more than $150,000 over a three-year period to assist in paying overtime costs. The California Office of Traffic Safety awarded $6.5 million in funding for this year s campaign.