New Year’s Eve traditionally brings with it celebratory gatherings that include the consumption of alcohol and drugs. DUI-related fatalities experience a sharp uptick over the holiday. Because of this, many police jurisdictions ramp up patrols and checkpoints in hopes of deterring and catching those that choose to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The Merced Sun-Star reports on efforts of local police that will ramp up over the holiday weekend.
Merced police are warning motorists and revelers alike that they will be “out in force” through New Year’s Day. They are also sending out the warning that you do not have to be drunk to get nailed with a DUI charge.
Though California voters may have decided to legalize marijuana, driving under the influence of the drug – or any drug – is still illegal. Since the law goes into effect on January 1, 2018, police and sheriff’s departments and the California Highway Patrol are teaming up to catch impaired motorists, a problem that authorities say has been on the rise.
From 2005 to 2015, the percentage of people impaired by a substance other than alcohol rose from 26.2% to 42.6%. Even prescription and over the counter drugs could land a person with a DUI charge. Sleep-aids, cold and allergy medications, and antidepressants can all lead to being impaired.
Already, several people have lost their lives as a result of DUI incidents on California roadways.
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