A cold drink may taste good after a long summer day, but driving after drinking could be what costs you $10,000.

Recent records are showing that the cost of an arrest for driving under the influence is compounded by court fines, attorney fees, mandatory DUI programs and the cost of increased insurance rates to total approximately $10,000. Additional restitution, vehicle impounding fees and loss of work make the cost of a DUI catastrophic.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 more than 10,000 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. That’s one life lost every 51 minutes.

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is partnering with local law enforcement and Santa Barbara County Drug and Alcohol Programs to promote community safety throughout the summer months by reducing incidents of driving under the influence. DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols will be increased over the summer months as these are typically the most dangerous months for traffic fatalities.

“The Santa Barbara Police Department will continue its strong DUI enforcement posture during this summer with DUI checkpoints and added DUI saturation patrols,” said Lt. Brent Mandrell of the Santa Barbara Police Department. “We are proud of the relationship we have with the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Their efforts in promoting safe driving and prevention of underage drinking is helping to bring high visibility to these safety issues.

“Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough. Driving under the influence is a great threat to the safety everyone in our community and the Santa Barbara Police Department is dedicated to keeping our streets safe through both enforcement and education.”

The best way to avoid a DUI is to make the choice not to drive after drinking. Driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent is considered a DUI for adults over age 21. However, the State of California has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under 21 with a 0.01 percent BAC being a DUI. 

Drunken driving is often a symptom of a larger problem — alcohol misuse and abuse. Click here for more information about alcohol misuse and abuse or to learn more about the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse programs. 

Make the choice to avoid a DUI citation by choosing not to drive after drinking. For more information about the programs of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, call 805.963.1433.

Funding for this program was made possible through the Strategic Prevention Framework, State Incentive Program and the County of Santa Barbara Alcohol and Drug Program.

— Melissa Wilkins is a prevention coordinator for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.