Holiday Safety-Labor Day Weekend
Here we are at another holiday weekend. It seems like just yesterday it was Memorial day and the fourth of July. As we are all getting older, the holidays come and go at a faster rate. Unfortunately, not everyone gets older with us because they cease to exist due to irresponsible behavior.
How many of us have had a loved one killed or seriously injured by a drunk driver? Or have killed or seriously injured someone else because they were driving drunk or had some other kind of alcohol related incident? Funny how the drunk driver in many cases ends up walking away from an accident with only minor injuries.
We all know that the legal limit in California is .08 percent blood alcohol content. For those under 21, any blood alcohol content is illegal, resulting in the loss of their driver’s license until age 21. However, here are a few pieces of information that most people do not know: in California, if a driver gets into an accident that results in any injury to another person and their blood alcohol content is as low as .03 percent, they can be charged with driving under the influence. If someone is driving under the influence and kills another person, they will serve a mandatory 25 year prison sentence. If a driver is intoxicated and gets into an accident that is not their fault, they will still be charged with driving under the influence and determined at fault because they should not be driving in the first place. Additionally, if someone is not drinking and their driver’s license is suspended, revoked or expired and get into an accident that is not their fault, they will also be determined at fault because they should not be driving. If a driver is under the influence and another person who is intoxicated and for whatever reason, touches the steering wheel causing an accident or erratic driving, both can be charged with driving under the influence because the second person essentially assumes control of the vehicle. In the same circumstance, if the driver is sober and the passenger is intoxicated, the passenger can be charged. All of the above examples also apply to those who are under the influence of narcotics as well.
According to Officer Joe Zagorski of the California Highway Patrol-Indio area, there have been 306 DUI arrests from June 1st to August 20th and 26 DUI arrests of drivers under 21 in the same period. Additionally in the same period, there have been 23 DUI related collisions, seven DUI related collisions resulting in injuries and thankfully no DUI related collisions resulting in fatalities. Officer Zagorski further reminds that Interstate 10 will be highly traveled during the holiday weekend and there will be an increase in officer presence seeking out those who choose to drive while intoxicated.
Corporal A. Ramos of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department states that holiday weekends generally generate a higher volume of alcohol related calls for service and that there will be additional deputies assigned to work over the Labor Day weekend.
Ben Guitron of the Indio Police Department states that they expect a larger number of loud music complaints from parties and advises that they are in violation of City Code 95c. Upon a first complaint, officers will generally issue a strong warning. If they have to return, officers will shut the party down and issue a citation resulting in a fine. Guitron also asks that those hosting parties or other activities to be respectful of their neighbors.
In Desert Hot Springs, Commander Ken Peary advises that the city will have a large amount of visitors enjoying the spas and advises that officers will be actively seeking out vehicle and pedestrian violations, failure to use seatbelts, drivers using their cellular phones and intoxicated drivers. With that said, Commander Peary wants everyone to enjoy the holiday.
If attending holiday functions or parties, please have a designated driver. That does not mean the person who has had the least amount to drink either! If there is not a designated driver, call a taxi. Additionally, it is not advised that one who is intoxicated walk near busy streets or alone as it could result in being a victim of a crime or potentially struck by a vehicle. If consuming alcohol, do not drink in excess, as it will in many cases, have a negative effect on one’s behavior. The result could end relationships, result in an arrest, possible injury or death and even end ones career.
As we all know, the heat will cause us to get dehydrated. So does alcohol consumption, so be sure to drink plenty of water regardless.
Do not be a statistic. Let’s not let our loved ones be a statistic either. Try and imagine how it would feel being the cause of someone else’s death or losing a loved one due to someone else’s lack of responsibility. Not a very good thought, is it?
Have a wonderful and safe holiday.
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