One person dies in the United States every 45 minutes at the hands of a drunk driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Fresno police want to cut into that deadly statistic, and they’re adding patrol officers starting Wednesday to arrest impaired drivers.
The extra enforcement is part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign and is paid for by state grants.
Given that marijuana is legal in California, it’s important for motorists to realize that impaired driving doesn’t involve just alcohol.
“Marijuana, prescription medications, or over-the-counter drugs may also impair,” Fresno police said in a news release. “Do your research and understand how certain drugs may affect
your driving ability.”
At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, a head-on collision at Clinton and Maple avenues sent both drivers to the hospital.
Officers with the California Highway Patrol arrested the man who caused the crash by running a red light for suspected DUI.
“Take an Uber, get a ride, call a friend, stay somewhere to sleep it off. This is preventable and didn’t need to happen,” CHP Sgt. Nicholas Ranger told ABC30.
Fresno PD Arrests Nine DUI Suspects Friday
Fresno PD encourages people out partying to have a “go safely” game plan by scheduling a ride or designating a sober driver.
But people aren’t getting the word — or are ignoring it at the peril of themselves and others on the streets.
Last Friday night, during a DUI enforcement effort, Fresno officers arrested nine drivers on suspicion of DUI. For the record: Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.
Fresno’s extra enforcement campaign will continue through New Year’s Day.
Half of People Killed in Crashes Have Drugs, Alcohol in Bloodstream
A large study by U.S. highway safety regulators published Tuesday found that more than half the people injured or killed in traffic crashes had one or more drugs, or alcohol, in their bloodstreams.
Also, just over 54% of injured drivers had drugs or alcohol in their systems, with THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, the most prevalent, followed by alcohol.
Although researchers caution that the results can’t be used to gauge drug use on the roads nationwide, they say the high number of drivers, passengers and other road users with drugs in their systems is concerning.
Acting NHTSA Administrator Ann Carlson said the study found that nearly 20% of the drivers tested had blood-alcohol levels of 0.08% or higher, exceeding the legal limit in every state.
“We also are concerned that nearly 20% of road users tested positive for two or more drugs, including alcohol,” she said. “The use of multiple substances at once can magnify the impairing effects of each drug.”
(Associated Press contributed to this story.)