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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 11th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 27

Santa Barbara County’s "AVOID the 12" campaign nets 171 drunk drivers

BY AMY ASMAN

An 18-day crackdown on people driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol resulted in 171 arrests, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced in a recent press release. That’s seven arrests more than during the same period last year.

“Any one of those could have turned fatal. It’s just pure luck that they didn’t,” Sgt. Kevin Huddle told the Sun.

There were three fatalities this year stemming from a motorcycle accident in Santa Barbara on Aug. 17 and a forklift collision in Santa Maria on Aug. 29.

Huddle said he’s noticed the blood-alcohol levels of the people he pulls over are increasing, even if they’re under the legal limit.

Just the other week, he arrested a 19-year-old with a blood-alcohol level of .25.

“He reeked of alcohol and he could have been arrested for drunk in public, but he wouldn’t admit that he’d been drinking,” Huddle said. “It’s scary that these people are on our streets.”

Luckily, he said, a taxi driver saw the teen at a convenience store and reported him to law enforcement.

Huddle said he recently handled another case in which the women he was talking to were clearly drunk, but they’d only admit to having one drink.

“I don’t know if it’s because they think they’re invincible or they just don’t care about the consequences,” he said.

The arrests were part of the summer “AVOID the 12” DUI Campaign.

From Aug. 16 to Sept. 2, officers representing 12 local law enforcement agencies conducted DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols. Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. Law enforcement officials will be conducting more “AVOID the 12” campaigns throughout the fall and winter.

People are encouraged to report drunk drivers by calling 911.