As summer winds down, the Fontana Police Department is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving.
The 18-day, high-visibility campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," is a partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety to curb impaired driving and save lives.
From Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 (Labor Day), law enforcement partners in San Bernardino County, across the state and nationwide will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.
The Fontana P.D. kicks off this enforcement effort by deploying additional officers tasked with DUI enforcement and will be conducting a DUI/driver's license checkpoint on Saturday, Sept. 5. Special DUI saturation patrols will also continue throughout the deployment period.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently recognized Fontana Police Officer Michael Gissel as the Inland Empire's top DUI arresting officer with 277 DUI arrests in 2014. Also, Fontana Police Officer Thomas Moore received the second highest honor with 220 DUI arrests.
"I am extremely proud of our officers relentless commitment to make our streets safer," said Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones. "We will continue our aggressive DUI enforcement efforts throughout the City of Fontana. We have zero tolerance for those who endanger our families and our children by driving while impaired. If you drive impaired in our city, we will find you, arrest you, and put you in jail."
Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with checkpoints and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce the toll of drunk driving.
And what a toll it is. In 2013, there were 10,076 people killed in drunk-driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In California, 867 died in drunk driving collisions, according to NHTSA. Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.
And we’re not just talking about a little bit of alcohol, either. More than a quarter (27 percent) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher -- almost twice the illegal limit.
Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.