The California Department of Insurance just issued an advisory in preparation for heightened DUI enforcement over the July 4th holiday period. Noting that over half of vehicle fatalities involved multiple substances, including cannabis.  The CHP reports that there has been a 28 percent increase over the decade of fatalities involving some sort of drug, including prescribed drugs.

In response to this uptrend, the Department of Insurance is sponsoring demonstrations where young drivers put on a suit that simulates being under the influence of marijuana and alcohol. The suited-up drivers then drive on a controlled course. The opportunity to suit up will also be offered to reporters, no doubt with the hope that their experience will be filmed and reported on in the local media.

The vehicles that the suited-up drivers will operate will also be equipped with GoPro cameras. The footage captured will be made available to the media.   Also on hand for the demonstrations will be law enforcement representatives to discuss the effects of drunk or drugged driving.

As with all holidays, CHP and other law enforcement agencies will have enhanced patrols and checkpoints in an effort to crack down on impaired drivers. But as I have previously discussed, identifying stoned drivers is not as simple as it is for drunk drivers. This being the first year where recreational cannabis dispensaries are operating, the challenge law enforcement faces to keep impaired drivers off the road may be even greater than before.

It is not only cannibals, but other drugs that are increasingly presenting a challenge to law enforcement and making our roads more dangerous—especially during holiday periods. Those of us celebrating the Fourth of July with barbeques and beer drinking should leave the driving to others. Unfortunately, many drivers are not that responsible and when drugs are added to the mix, these drivers are even more dangerous. It is a sad fact that every Fourth of July holiday ends in serious or fatal injuries to many people who are victims of impaired drivers. The Department of Insurance demonstration hopes to influence young drivers: the population most likely to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Saturation patrolsand maximum enforcement periodsacross California will generally begin at the close of the workday on July 3 and end in the early morning of July 5.  The Fourth of July holiday period is one of the deadliest on our roads due to the increased number of impaired drivers on the road.

Have fun, celebrate, but if you are going to drink or take drugs, be responsible. Designate a driver, call a ride-share, but please don’t drive.

DUI defense attorney William Weinberg has been defending those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for 25 years. He is available for a complimentary consultation to discuss your DUI matter. You may reach him at his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or by emailing him at bill@williamweinberg.com