"Avoid the 21" DUI crackdown launched
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The goal at checkpoints like this one in Clovis is to find drunk drivers, and get them off the road. But local law enforcement agencies and political leaders came together Friday to say the real goal is not to make arrests but to stop drinking and driving.
California Highway Patrol Captain Sam Samra put it this way, "Impaired driving is not an accident. It's an epidemic of careless disregard for human life."
Drunk driving accidents have claimed the lives of nine people in Fresno County since the first of the year, and left 68 others seriously hurt. As part of the effort to fight that, Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan vows to throw the book at those charged with driving under the influence.
Egan said, "A DUI arrest may expose you to six months in jail on a first offense to 15 years to life for a repeat offender who kills someone."
Egan notes that her office has prosecuted nearly four thousand drunk drivers this year. In addition to jail time, fines can range from $5 to $10 thousand. But Samra notes despite the penalties and the warnings many will leave bars and drive drunk.
"It's shocking," Captain Sam Samra said. "It's shocking that we have so much education out there. So much coverage and education that people still choose to ignore."
And by ignoring all the warnings, they could possibly end up causing a tragedy.
The local effort to stop drunk drivers is called "Avoid the 21" for the 21 law enforcement agencies in Fresno and Madera counties taking part. This nationwide crackdown starts Friday night and runs through September 3rd.
dui, central valley, local
- Fatal car accident kills pedestrian in Merced
- Fresno State to play USC Las Vegas Bowl
- Deputies search for missing 31-year-old Huron man
- National memorial to be held for Nelson Mandela
- Low elevation snow catches some off guard
- Ukraine sees largest anti-govt protest since 2004
- Man wanted for shooting near Fresno ice rink arrested
- Fresno State defeats Utah State 24-17
- Train hits pedestrian and dog in Central Fresno
- HWY 41 opens near Tenaya Lodge after closed due to snow 21 min ago
- Video: Mountain communities wake up to snow
- Nelson Mandela family: 'We have lost a great man'
- Reindeer escapes from Santa at Colorado mall
- Photos: Winter Wonderland