By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
DUI enforcement key to holiday safety
Placeholder Image
Starting with the Thanksgiving Holiday period, Ceres Police, along with almost all other law enforcement agencies throughout California will substantially increase DUI enforcement efforts through January 2, 2013. Simply put, social events, company parties, family gatherings and the fact that people spend more time indoors all give rise to the increase of alcohol consumption. Seasonal depression is a factor that also contributes to increased drinking and drug use. Many people find the holiday season an unpleasant time because of loneliness. Job loss, financial and personal problems, and other life issues seem to contribute to peoples' abuse of drugs and alcohol as well. The aforementioned can all converge at the same time, making life very difficult and causing people to use bad judgment when it comes to drinking and driving.

The problem with DUIs is one of the most widely publicized issues in our society, yet, the number of arrests for this crime in California each year is close to 190,000. In Ceres, it is not uncommon for Ceres officers to make three to five DUI arrests each evening, and during the holidays, those numbers can be even higher. We find that the evenings of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are when there are the most DUI arrests, although arrests are made frequently during the other days of the week. It is also not that unusual for persons to drive intoxicated during the morning hours.

The problem of intoxicated motorists on our highways and local streets poses a serious danger to everyone. DUI drivers regularly run into and injure or kill other motorists, their passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders. The problem is so serious and deadly that various groups like MADD and the government regularly launch anti-DUI public education campaigns to help reduce the carnage. Police agencies in Stanislaus County have been awarded a state grant to increase DUI patrols, which translates to additional officers being patrolling the streets and highways with the express purpose of finding and arresting DUI motorists.

The direct and indirect costs of DUI-related collisions for deaths, injuries, property damage, lost wages, job loss, incarceration expenses and loss of productivity is enormous. The stigma that follows persons convicted of DUI offenses often runs deep and is long lasting. I am also aware that persons convicted of DUIs may not be allowed international travel to certain other countries in the world. There are so many reasons to eliminate the problem of DUI driving!

I think it is important to acknowledge the humanistic issues associated with substance abuse and DUI driving, and many DUI arrests could be averted if people with problems seek counseling. Another simple solution is to always designate a sober driver or to call a taxi when drinking becomes. When the aforementioned steps are ignored, the police have to resort to the only real tool available to them, aggressively searching for DUI suspects and arresting them with a "no excuses" policy. It is our hope that, just by increasing patrols for visibility and enforcement, motorists will decide in advance to never operate a motor vehicle after having consumed intoxicants of any kind. Everyone deserves a safe holiday season, free from the threats of being killed or injured by any DUI motorists. I also feel great sadness for the people who have no one to share the holidays with, those who live in despair or are suffering from job losses. I pray that these hard times will pass soon and those with hardships do not give up hope.