As party-goers celebrate Cinco de Mayo with mariachi music and authentic cuisine this weekend, many will also indulge with their favorite margarita or tequila, then choose to get behind the wheel and drive to their next destination. That’s why this year the Santa Clara County Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force is joining with others across the state and nation to encourage everyone to plan ahead this Cinco de Mayo and not drink and drive, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s office.
Cinco de Mayo is Sunday, and special DUI saturation patrols will be deployed throughout the county this weekend to identify and stop suspected drunk drivers, the press release from Sheriff’s Deputy Kurtis Stenderup said.
Additionally, every routine traffic and patrol officer assigned to duty will be on heightened alert to prevent DUI-related traffic accidents.
From 2007 to 2011, 38 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities that occurred each year around May 5involved impaired drivers or motorcycle operators with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 and above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During the 2011 Cinco de Mayo holiday, 35 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 and above, police said. Eighty percent of the alcohol impaired fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with nearly twice the legal limit,
showing a BAC of .15.
“With Cinco de Mayo celebrations on the rise across the country, alcohol-impaired crashes, injuries and fatalities will also rise,” said Chief Greg Finch, Campbell Police Department. “But buzzed driving is drunk driving, and is never safe or acceptable. So folks should plan ahead now to avoid the temptation on the big day.”
Death or injury is not the only consequences from impaired driving. When caught and arrested, violators often face jail time, loss of their driver’s license and it could cost up to $10,000 in fees, fines, and higher insurance rates, Stenderup said.
Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.