San Andreas, CA — Calaveras County is hoping to hike its DUI conviction rate by cracking down on those who get behind the wheel under the influence of any drug.
The county has been awarded a $160,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook will spend the money on hiring a full time prosecutor and program assistant to deal solely with prosecuting impaired drivers. The money will also pay for training, education and prevention. Yook says their calling it the “Reduce Impaired Driving” Campaign.
Yook says, “I’m hoping that it will mean that we will be able to reduce the number of DUI’s. For every one we can reduce, hopefully we are saving a life.” Yook added, “We have seen an increase in the number of cases involving people under the influence of prescription drugs so it’s not just illegal drugs, but legal ones too. However, driving under the influence of any substance is illegal. Through the grant we are trying a double fisted approach, trying to get the word out through education and prevention.”
State figures for 2010, the most recent year available, show more than 300 people were arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in Calaveras County, and in Tuolumne County there were 429 in 2011.