Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 9:01 pm | Light Rain 55º


AVOID the 12 Receives Grant to Continue Another Year of DUI Enforcement

Drunken and drugged driving remains the No. 1 killer on Santa Barbara County roadways, with 774 deaths and more than 24,000 injuries. The AVOID the 12 DUI Task Force will be combating this deadly problem through DUI enforcement efforts in the county.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department will be administering a recent $130,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for the entire county.

The AVOID the 12 DUI Task Force is named to send the message that if you don’t drink or use drugs and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the 12 participating law enforcement agencies in the county.

The grant activities will specifically target those who get behind the wheel after drinking too much or using drugs that impair driving. Officers from law enforcement agencies across the county will jointly staff DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, multiagency DUI task force deployments and local DUI saturation patrols. Additionally, funding will target the "worst of the worst" repeat DUI offenders with warrant/probation sweeps and court sting enforcement operations focusing on DUI offenders with suspend licenses who drive from court hearings after being ordered not to by a judge.

A large part of grant funding will go to DUI/driver’s license checkpoints — highly visible, highly publicized events not only meant to make arrests, but to deter impaired driving in the first place. Crashes involving alcohol have been shown to drop by up to 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent, and are supported by nearly 90 percent of California drivers.

Forty-two of California’s counties participate in the AVOID campaigns. They are the largest funded DUI crackdowns in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Motorists can expect to see special DUI campaigns during the winter and summer holiday periods as well as on Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and during local special events with identified DUI problems.

Agencies participating in the AVOID the 12 task force include the California Highway Patrol, the Guadalupe Police Department, the Lompoc Police Department, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Maria Police Department, the UCSB Police Department, the Allan Hancock College Police Department, California State Parks, the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC), the U.S. Forest Service and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Funding for this operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AVOID the 12 is named for the 12 law enforcement agencies within Santa Barbara County that work together to combat impaired driving.

 — S gt. Kevin Huddle represents the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

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