Drunk driving is still the number one cause of death on the roadways, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
During last year’s maximum enforcement period between December 31 and January 2, the California Highway Patrol’s Coastal Division, which covers the coast from Santa Cruz to Moorpark, reported 50 DUI arrests. Statewide, there were 510 DUI arrests.
“Drinking driving, impaired driving is a problem we are still seeing. Not only is it a problem but it’s problem that is increasing. All the numbers and stats are trending upward," said Kim Christianson, MADD Program & Fund Development Manager.
It’s a problem that comes with a big price tag.
“Given all the costs, fines, probation fees, DUI program, increased insurance, and legal fees, the person is looking at anywhere between $13,000 to $15,000," said local defense attorney Matthew Kraut.
Along with hefty financial costs, a DUI can also come with jail time.
“Anyone who is caught and convicted for a first-time DUI faces anywhere from two days to ten days in jail, but the jail time and other consequences associated with DUI conviction go up from there," Kraut added.
According to Kraut, a second or third conviction can result in 120 days in jail, a fourth DUI or one resulting in injury can be charged as a felony, and if somebody is convicted of a DUI that causes the death of someone else, they can face life in prison.
“A person’s driving license can be suspended for as long as a year for a first-time DUI and of course, that time can go longer and longer depending on how many prior DUIs that person has," Kraut said.
It’s not just alcohol. DUIs can also include drugs.
“Yes, those Ubers and Lyft rides might be expensive but it’s going to be a lot less expensive than DUI or impacting someone else’s family for the rest of their lives," Christianson said.
MADD wants to remind everyone to designate a sober driver ahead of time and have a plan of action this holiday weekend.