Clovis DUI officers out in force this New Year’s weekend

(Clovis Police Department)

While alcohol-impaired driving remains the most serious issue on roadways, the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with other impairing substances in their system keeps rising.

Faced with more instances of Driving under the Influence of Drugs (DUID), state and local officials are reiterating the message that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” The message takes on increased importance with the state set to begin licensing commercial non-medical marijuana sales on Jan. 1, 2018, under provisions of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

The Clovis Police Department Traffic Unit will be deploying this holiday weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers. DUI Saturation Patrols will be deployed this weekend in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions or high areas of arrests. These extra officers on the road, along with routine patrols, are aimed to drastically reduce impaired driving on our community’s roadways.

“It has taken more than 35 years to convince the vast majority of the public that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, illegal and socially unacceptable,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “With more dying on our roadways every day, we can’t afford to take that long when it comes to driving under the influence of prescription medications, marijuana, illicit drugs and even some over-the-counter medications.”

From 2005-2015, the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with an impairing drug other than alcohol in their system has risen from 26.2 percent to 42.6 percent. As far back as 2012, a roadside survey in California showed more drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

In addition to marijuana, a driver could be subject to a DUI arrest if they are under the influence of prescription medications like sleep aids, tranquilizers, barbiturates, opiates and other painkillers, antidepressants, and even over-the-counter allergy or cough medications.

Funding for the DUI operation is provided to Clovis Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.