Historically, Labor Day is one of the busiest times on the road each year. Running from August 16 to September 2, the national 2013 "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" High-Visibility Enforcement Campaign is intended to make the roads safer during this period. In Sacramento, this end-of-summer DUI crackdown led to over 400 individuals being arrested for DUI.
Seventeen law enforcement agencies collaborated in the endeavor. The enterprise consisted of three main methods, all of which are common to these types of efforts. The first was security checkpoints, which is when vehicles are slowed or stopped briefly in order to give law enforcement a chance to check tags and licenses, glance into the car, and provide an opportunity to smell the driver’s breath.
The second method utilized was special squad car saturation patrols. This refers to law enforcement placing a high concentration of officers in a specific area. The third technique was routine patrols, which is normal police activity.
In 2012’s Labor Day crackdown, 442 DUI arrests were made. This year, just over 400 individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs were arrested. In addition to fewer people being charged of DUI, there were no DUI deaths during the crackdown period this year. Last year, there were five.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle crashes caused by impaired drivers cost more than $37 billion each year. However, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) point out that in 2011, drunk driving fatalities nationwide dropped below ten thousand for the first time ever. However, enforcement of DUI laws remains a high priority for law officials nationwide.
The Sacramento campaign was called Avoid the 17. The program was funded in part by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA sponsors the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” effort.
Designating a sober driver and avoiding known security checkpoints or areas of officer saturation during crackdown periods are recommended. A DUI conviction can lead to significant consequences including jail time, fines, higher insurance rates, the installation of an ignition interlock device, and more. Another NHTSA sponsored crackdown will occur during the holiday season, from December 13 to January 1.