Beginning with a sobriety and drivers license checkpoint at 6 p.m. Tuesday and continuing through the Fourth of July weekend, motorists in Napa can expect to see and perhaps encounter extra patrol cars from the city police, county sheriff and California Highway Patrol, all on the lookout for drunk and drugged drivers.
A press release from Sgt. Paul Paniagua of the details this holiday's countywide DUI enforcement program, known as Avoid the 9 Napa County:
Sobriety/Drivers License Checkpoint:
Tuesday, July 3: Multi-Agency DUI Checkpoint: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the City of Napa
Task Force Operations: None Scheduled
DUI Saturation Patrols:
Thursday/Saturday, July 5-7: Extra DUI Roving Patrols will be assigned by police within the cities of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena and Calistoga. Sheriff’s deputies will staff extra DUI units in the unincorporated areas to supporting those police departments.
California Highway Patrol Maximum Enforcement Period: CHP will assign all available officers to the region’s freeways, state highways and unincorporated roads beginning 6 PM Tuesday through midnight Wednesday.
Additional Saturation Patrols will be assigned by police within the city of Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena and Calistoga, Thursday through Sunday.
“The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays due to an increase in impaired-driving fatalities,” wrote Paniagua in the press release.
“Too many people die behind the wheel each year due to those who choose to drive after drinking, so our officers will be out in full force this Fourth of July showing zero tolerance for impaired drivers.”
The announcement continues,
The DUI Task Force plans to deploy special DUI Saturations Patrols on Tuesday and Wednesday each evening late into the night. With Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, many in our community will be taking the rest of the week off so DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols will be out in force throughout the weekend.
Impaired-driving crashes killed more than 10,000 people in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That’s an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 51 minutes.
Often Fourth of July celebrations start during the day, but last well into the night – making the dangers from impaired drivers even higher at night.
“The amount of alcohol that one can consume during a day-long party or celebration can drastically impair the motor skills needed to drive safely,” Paniagua wrote.
“Add the fact that many others may be out driving impaired, and that visual skills also decrease at night, and you have a recipe for disaster.”
Paniagua recommends these tips for a safe Fourth of July:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate, Report Drunk Drivers! Call 911;
- And remember, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
According to Paniagua, the holiday DUI campaign is funded a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The "Avoid Campaign" will deploy sobriety checkpoints and DUI patrols again beginning August 17th, he said.