According to MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving), in 2014, drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol killed around 10,500 people; 345,000 were injured. The statistics for the number of accidents occurring in San Diego County due to drunken driving are staggering and most of these accidents occur on or around holidays. The most common holidays where accidents are most likely to occur due to irresponsible post-party practices are the Fourth of July, New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day.
Focusing on New Year’s, the San Diego County authorities did what they could to ensure the safety of the roads to prevent New Year’s DUI cases for 2015, but to no avail. Statewide in the State of California, DUI arrests were down from 2014; but this wasn’t the case for San Diego County specifically. Blocking out just a 12-hour window from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day 2013-2014, there were 324 DUI arrests in the state of California and 14 in San Diego County. The same time frame for 2014-2015 New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day netted 309 DUI arrests in the state of California and 20 in San Diego County. It may not seem like much of an increase, but percentage wise it’s a 42.9% jump for San Diego County. Last New Year’s there were no fatalities while this year there was one; statewide there were 5 fatalities this year.
In an attempt to lower the statistics for those not only driving under the influence (DUI) but also driving without a valid license, authorities publicized their plans to increase DUI checkpoints starting right after Christmas (Dec. 26) through New Year’s. Studies in San Diego County have shown that well published reports stating the intention of having increased police presence can lower irresponsible acts of partygoers by up to 20 percent. San Diego County police ran several DUI checkpoints from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Christmas Weekend, inspired by the nearly 2,300 injuries that occurred last year around the same time. The checkpoints proved successful in finding and arresting drunken drivers but also increased the statistics from last year. A report released by CHP said 18 people were arrested and two died in San Diego County between 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and 8 a.m. the day after Christmas. That’s six more arrests than last year and the same number of fatalities. The New Year’s statistics also went up from last year as a result of increased DUI checkpoints throughout San Diego County; officers arrested 34 impaired drivers in San Diego County between New Year’s Eve and that Friday morning, compared to 20 DUI arrests in the same holiday period a year ago. During the same weekend, continuing from Friday to Sunday (New Year’s weekend) the statistic increased dramatically, doubling the total number of drunken drivers taken off of the streets. Officers arrested 69 drivers driving under the influence (DUI) in San Diego County between New Year’s Eve and that Sunday on the weekend following New Year’s.