Local California Highway Patrol officials are crediting roving patrols, driver awareness and a mid-week New Year€™s holiday for low numbers of “Driving Under the Influence,” or DUI arrests, accidents and fatalities.
California Highway Patrol officer Tom Wills from the Jamestown office says people took to heart the advance warnings by law enforcement.
“This year a little bit of education went a long way with the designated driver program,” Wills said. “I think people were just a little more responsible, plus it was a mid-week type New Year€™s opposed to a weekend.”
Statewide for the holiday enforcement period, CHP reports seven traffic deaths and 696 DUI arrests.
Wills says in the Sonora area there were no fatalities, and only two DUI arrests.
Bobbie Frye, associate pastor at Sonora Four Square Church offered their “Operation Safe Ride” from 7 p.m. New Year€™s Eve until 5 a.m. New Year€™s Day.
Frye said it was a huge success. “We gave rides to 12 persons and that€™s incredible for our first year. If we saved just one life because of it, we´re very happy.”
Volunteers from the small congregation offered free rides to Sonora area residents to help prevent drinking and driving accidents and injury.
A change in typical highway patrol holiday practice may have yielded positive results as well during the New Years holiday maximum enforcement period.
Officer Wills says CHP changed from stationary DUI check points to more active officer patrols on both highways and county back roads looking for DUI drivers.