Felony and repeat misdemeanor DUI (driving under the influence) offenders are overrepresented in traffic crashes involving alcohol or other drugs, often with tragic results. A $120,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to the Santa Barbara County Probation Department will be making sure that these worst-of-the-worst offenders are complying with all court orders.
“We are happy to have been awarded this grant once again,” Santa Barbara County Probation Chief Beverly Taylor said. “While we are making progress in the area of drunk driving, there is still much work to be done. We are hoping to continue positively impacting the community through this opportunity.”
The grant will fund deputy probation officers to intensely monitor drivers on probation for felony DUI or multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions.
Supervision for these high-risk offenders will include unannounced home searches, random alcohol and drug testing, and monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs.
The Intensive Probation Supervision for High-Risk Felony and Repeat DUI Offenders grant is aimed at reducing the number of people killed and injured in alcohol- and other drug-related collisions in the county. In 2011, 11 were killed and 328 injured in such crashes in Santa Barbara County.
The Santa Barbara County Probation Department will also collaborate with other local law enforcement agencies to conduct DUI/driver license checkpoints and warrant service operations targeting individuals who fail to make court appearances after DUI arrests.
Drunken driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes. In 2011, nationally 9,778 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In California, the number killed was 774, with over 24,000 seriously injured.
Funding for the grant is from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
— Kristina Brumbaugh is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Probation Department.