Drunk and drugged driving remains the No. 1 killer on our state roadways. Yolo County’s “Avoid the 8” DUI Task Force seeks to attack this problem head-on through DUI enforcement efforts made possible by a recent $80,000 grant awarded to the Davis Police Department by the California Office of Traffic Safety.
Davis police will administer the grant for the entire county.
“The ‘Avoid the 8′ DUI task force is named to send the message that if you don’t drink or use drugs and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the eight participating law enforcement agencies in the county,” Davis Police Chief Landy Black said.
Other participating agencies in the Yolo County task force include the UC Davis, Woodland, Winters and West Sacramento police departments, the Yolo County Sheriff’s and Probation departments and the Woodland office of the California Highway Patrol.
The grant activities will specifically target those who get behind the wheel after drinking too much or using drugs that impair driving. Officers will be staffing sobriety and driver license checkpoints, multi-agency DUI task force deployments and local DUI saturation patrols.
Additionally, funding will target the “worst of the worst” repeat DUI offenders with warrant and probation sweeps, as well as court sting operations focusing on DUI offenders who drive away from court hearings on suspended licenses despite judges’ orders not to drive.
“The Avoid DUI task forces have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed from 2006 to 2010 in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one-third of traffic fatalities, Yolo County needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide.”
A large part of grant funding will go toward the checkpoints — highly visible, highly publicized events not only meant to make arrests, but to deter impaired driving in the first place. Crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent.
Motorists can expect to see special DUI campaigns during the winter and summer holiday periods as well as on Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and during local special events with identified DUI problems.
Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.