Whittier police take aim at drunk drivers
WHITTIER – Whittier Police Department and California Highway Patrol officers are putting more teeth into their usual holiday admonition: Don’t drink and drive.“We’ll put every available officer out there on the road between now and the end of the year to prevent (alcohol-related collision) numbers from going up, and to influence people to drive carefully, cautiously, and to wear seat belts,” CHP spokesman Steve Kohler said. Whittier ranks 27th among 97 California cities in the number of alcohol-involved collisions for adults ages 22 to 34, said Mike Marando, spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety.That’s primarily why his office has awarded Whittier a grant to increase DUI education and enforcement programs, Maran-do said.This year, Whittier police have used part of the $93,929 grant to fund the “Every 15 Minutes” program in high schools. It involves graphic depictions of vehicle collisions to teach young drivers about the risks of driving under the influence and not wearing a seat belt.The grant also funded a special year-round, two-officer DUI enforcement team. For the next two holiday weekends, the team – augmented by regular Whittier police patrol units – will be on the hunt for intoxicated drivers. Some of the state grant also will pay for holiday sobriety checkpoints, Whittier police said.“The potential for more collisions during the holidays is there because of the amount of people not participating in their daily routines of work and school,” said Whittier police Sgt. Dan Lowe. “There are more people on the roadways, and during the holidays people celebrate by consuming alcohol.”Although a recent sobriety checkpoint in Whittier re-sulted in no arrests, Whittier ranks third of 97 comparably sized cities for alcohol-involved collisions involving drivers under 21, Marando said.Statewide, traffic fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend were up this year – 60 people died, compared with 53 last year, Kohler said.Of the 60 people killed over the Thanksgiving holiday, at least 30 were not wearing a seat belt, he said.So far this year, Whittier has not had any alcohol-related traffic fatalities. And Lowe hopes that record holds through the New Year’s holiday.“Last year, we had two fatalities and 51 injuries directly related to alcohol,” said Lowe. “This year, we have not as of yet had any alcohol-related fatalities through September, and we’ve only had 21 injury traffic collisions.” for the past three years firstname.lastname@example.org(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!