Mountain View Voice

News - August 20, 2010

Drunk driving crackdown begins Friday

by Angela Chen

Santa Clara County police officers will begin an intensive, 18-day crackdown on drunk drivers on Friday, Aug. 20.

The effort is part of a nationwide initiative, called the Avoid the 13 Summer Mobilization Campaign, which began three years ago as a reaction to the high number of alcohol-related fatalities and injuries.

According to recent national data, 32 percent of all driving-related crashes involve a driver with blood alcohol content of .08 or above, and one of these fatalities occurs every 45 minutes.

Avoid the 13 is credited with reducing the number of alcohol-related vehicle crashes in California from 1,780 in 2007 to 1,317 last year, a 26 percent decrease. The campaign will last until Sept. 6 and includes a probation sweep targeting repeat offenders.

Locally, officers will be deployed to be roving DUI patrols, creating a multi-agency DUI task force operation and conducting three roadway checkpoints.

Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, said police officers will increase nighttime enforcement because more drunk drivers are likely to be on the road.

"Our message is simple and unwavering. If we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions," Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis said in a press release issued by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

This year's campaign is inspired in part by the death of 4-year-old Jose Cortez Diaz, who was killed last month in a car crash with a drunk driver in Gilroy. As a result, several Santa Clara police associations have made donations to the Cortez family and Diaz's father, Jesus Cortez, was scheduled to speak at a campaign press conference Aug. 19 at the sheriff's office.

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