With New Year's Eve just around the corner, Police will have their hands full keeping the roads safe from holiday revelers who might have celebrated a little too hard. The DUI task force called "Avoid the 12" was formed to help fight against DUI drivers. The task force is named for the 12 law enforcement agencies within Santa Barbara County that have been working together to combat impaired driving.
At a recent press conference, local law enforcement reiterated the importance of increased vigilance during this time of year. Statistics show that deaths and injuries caused by alcohol-related traffic crashes rise 86 percent during the holidays.
Sgt. Kevin Huddle of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's office, said "This time of year is especially dangerous because of all the people on the road. The cities of Lompoc and Santa Barbara will each have 4 check points, and the city of Santa Maria will have 3."
There have been several recent high profile deaths on our roadways which resulted in DUI arrests. Drunken and drugged driving remains the number one killer on Santa Barbara County roadways, with 774 deaths and more than 24,000 injuries.
Sheriff Bill Brown: "Not all the drivers are local, several come in from out of town, so that's another reason to ramp up our efforts during the holiday season."
The message from law enforcement continues to be the same: drive sober or get pulled over. And their hope is the ramped up presence will help them get their point across.
Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara District Attorney, took the message one step further: "Don't drink and drive, don't text and drive and if you see someone who is doing these things then you need to call law enforcement."
The recent December DUI crackdown has netted law enforcement 93 DUI related arrests, which is almost an identical number to 2012. The task force ends after January 1, 2014.