IMPERIAL COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol tells KSWT News 13 that officers arrested six people for drinking and driving over the New Year's holiday weekend. For a second year in a row there were no fatalities reported.
The Maximum Enforcement Period lasted all weekend and through Tuesday evening, and all 8 local law enforcement agencies couldn't be happier with the results. We wanted to know, what is the reason behind the low numbers of D.U.I.-related incidents in the Imperial Valley?
I went to the California highway patrol to ask them and their answer was pretty simple; residents here are just being smarter when it comes to drinking and driving.
"Imperial Valley residents are more educated now. They know the consequences of a D.U.I., or maybe driving too fast and getting into a collision. Not only the aspects of getting injured or injuring somebody else but all the financial burdens that come with getting arrested for D.U.I. or causing a collision".
Officer Ernesto Ruedas says the statistics show that law enforcement presence in the community and especially during big celebrations, is deterring residents from breaking the law - and getting behind the wheel - while drunk.
"These numbers are great for us. I think that the low numbers in traffic collisions, especially in the area of major injury collisions and fatal collisions are great. It shows that were out there doing our job; were out there with visible presence. People see us, people see the other law enforcement agencies. The last thing they wanna do is break the law in front of an officer".
Officer Ruedas says that although the number of D.U.I. arrests did not show an increase compared to 2011, Imperial Valley residents should not become complacent and think they can get away with drinking and driving throughout the rest of the year.
"Continue being safe. Just because nothing happened in this big weekend and it was a busy weekend, it doesn't mean that nothings gonna happen in the future. It could be a weekday that you go out to dinner and then a collision may happen. You maybe have a little more than you should when it comes to drinking and driving, so just continue being safe".
Although the maximum enforcement period ended yesterday, that doesn't mean that authorities aren't out looking for drunk drivers. Like the old saying goes, "they'll see you, before you see them".
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