Newport Beach Police Department
Cinco de Mayo: Fiesta Time or Jail Time? Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving
For many people in the United States, Cinco de Mayo – like St. Patrick’s Day – is just an occasion for having a good time with alcohol. Do you plan to join the fiesta on May 5th? If so, be aware that the Newport Beach Police Department has planned a DUI Saturation Patrol and will be deploying officers specifically for the purpose of identifying and stopping impaired drivers. Additionally, every traffic and patrol officer on duty will be on heightened alert to prevent a senseless tragedy due to alcohol or drugs.
The unfortunate truth is this: while many people are making party plans for Cinco de Mayo, they aren’t all planning out a way to get home safely. Too many people are lying to themselves about the dangers of drinking and driving. Some fiesta-goers think that they can play it by ear, and wait until after they drink to decide whether or not they’re “okay to drive”. By then, it’s too late.
Recent statistics also show that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers revealed that more people tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, and showed slightly higher use than alcohol (7.4 percent). Mixing medication or drugs – legal or illegal – is a dangerous cocktail. To address this issue, specially-trained drug recognition experts will be checking for drug impairment whenever suspected.
If you don’t designate a sober driver ahead of time, or have a solid plan for how you will get home safely, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, and when you drive drunk, you run the risk of killing yourself or someone else. Even if you don’t harm anyone, the average DUI costs about $10,000… which far exceeds the cost of a taxi.
“Our main goal is to save lives,” said Lt. Tom Fischbacher. “Around the county, we want to debunk the myth that you can drink until you ‘feel it’ and then get behind the wheel. You can’t. Remember that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” Cinco de Mayo can be a fun and festive time for those who choose to celebrate the right way: with a plan for a sober ride. If you plan ahead while you’re sober, you won’t make a bad decision when you’re drunk.
As you make your Cinco de Mayo plans, we would like to point out that the California Office of Traffic Safety is offering a free mobile app – DDVIP – aimed at thanking the sober designated driver with perks and free offers at area bars and restaurants. And for those without a DD: make a sober ride home your priority; the new SaferRide app from NHTSA makes it easier than ever.
A final statistic to remember: drunk-driving deaths are 100 percent preventable.
Funding for this deployment is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who reminders every motorist to Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911! Remember, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Don’t do it.