The Avoid the 8 – Siskiyou County DUI Task Force  announced on June 30 that it “will be out in full force during the 4th of July holiday weekend cracking down on impaired drivers with an aggressive DUI enforcement blitz to include Sobriety/Drivers License Checkpoint(s) and DUI Saturation Patrols.”

Local enforcement efforts, according to a news release, will include:

• A Sobriety Checkpoint will be established on Saturday, July 2, from 8 p.m. to midnight at 1012 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd., adjacent to Mt. Shasta Gymnastics.

• DUI Roving Patrols will be conducted by local police and sheriff’s deputies countywide from July 1 through July 4.

• As part of a California Highway Patrol Maximum Enforcement Period, the CHP will assign all available officers to the region’s freeways, state highways and unincorporated roads beginning 6 p.m. Friday, July 1, through midnight Monday, July 4.

• All routine police and sheriff patrols along with CHP, which is deploying 80% of all officers onto freeways, state routes and county roads, “will be stepping up DUI stops locally and statewide,”?the news release states.

“We want people to be careful all weekend, but particularly at night,” said Sheriff Jon Lopey, AVOID the 8, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. “The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was four times higher at night than during the day.”  

Funding for the Avoid Campaign is through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The summer holidays are some of the deadliest time periods on our roadways so everyone must remember to be responsible and plan ahead; use a Designated Sober Driver,” said Chris Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety.  “Just know everyone traveling down the road near you has a cell phone and will call 9-1-1 to report a suspected drunk driver!”

Statistics gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the past 25 years show that, on average, nearly half of all deadly traffic crashes over each year’s July 4th holiday involved some level of alcohol.  

Of the 410 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally during the Fourth of July weekend in 2009, 40 percent involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher, according to the news release. In California, seven were killed in DUI wrecks in 2009 and another 352 were injured in Alcohol Involved Collisions.

The news release states, “Impaired driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. In 2009 alone, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, accounting for nearly 32 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That’s an average of one impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes in 2009.  Nine hundred fifty men, women and children died in California because someone drove impaired over the legal limit.”

For more information on regional/statewide Avoid DUI Task Force campaigns, Enforcement Schedules and Daily DUI Arrest/Fatality statistics, visit www.californiaavoid.org and www.StopImpairedDriving.org.

The Avoid Campaign is also scheduled to deploy sobriety checkpoints and DUI patrols again during the August/Labor DUI Mobilization beginning Aug. 19.