To help stop identity theft and as a service to our residents, the City of Murrieta City Clerk Department is hosting a FREE Document On-Site Shredding Event. The event will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. or until the truck is filled to capacity. Residents may bring up to FIVE banker-sized boxes per trip, to the back parking lot of City Hall.
Items that may be included are paper documents such as legal, medical, financial, tax, bank, photos, and credit card statements (no need to remove staples or paper clips). Residents may also bring credit cards and CDs. No businesses please.
For more information on this event, please call (951) 461-6013.
With the holiday season and associated parties just around the corner, Impaired Driving is this month’s topic. The bad news about this problem is it continues to injure and kill a significant number of people every year. The good news is, deaths and injuries from alcohol/drug related traffic collisions have shown a steady decline over the years. So what are the latest statistics and studies showing us, and how can we avoid becoming a victim of a DUI driver?
In 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers. This was the first time this survey was conducted since 2007. Similar surveys have been conducted since 1973. The survey collects data from 300 roadside sites from around the country. The way the survey works is road signs alert drivers to a voluntary survey ahead. A driver’s participation is strictly voluntary, anonymous, and they are paid for their participation. Drivers enter the survey site, are tested, and if they are too impaired to drive from the research site are offered other means to get to their destination. Over 30,000 participants have completed the survey and none identified as too impaired to drive have driven from the sites, and none were arrested. Testing for illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over the counter drugs was also included in the survey.
So what did we learn from this survey when compared to previous surveys. What we learned is the proportion of drivers with measurable alcohol in their system declined by 30 percent from 2007 to 2014. This decline was seen across all alcohol levels. Even more significant is since the survey began in 1973 the prevalence of alcohol among drivers has declined by nearly 80 percent.
In 2014 the survey showed about 1.5 percent of the drivers contacted on a weekend night had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, and approximately 8.3 percent of all drivers contacted had some measurable alcohol in their system at the survey site.
With respect to drugged driving, the statistics are not as promising. Approximately 20 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs in their system which is up from 16.3 percent in 2007. Specifically, 12.6 percent had marijuana in their system which is up from 8.6 percent in 2007.
So what does this all mean to us? It appears the efforts and campaigns by law enforcement and other organizations have helped in moving alcohol impaired driving statistics in the right direction. Unfortunately, with the over prescription of many pain killing narcotics, the marijuana legalization in some states, and the prevalence of medical marijuana cards in other states, drugged driving is an ever increasing problem in our society.
Obviously, each person has to make a personal decision not to drive impaired in any way. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after all, is at the core of this problem. If you are involved in a drug or alcohol related crash, the chances are nine times greater that there will be a death involved than if all drivers were sober. The reason for this is threefold. Impaired drivers are more likely to not be wearing seatbelts when they crash, they tend to take more risk, and they react slower causing the crash to occur at higher speeds.
If you are not impaired and driving, you are not out of the woods. If you are going to be out on the roads, you still must be constantly aware of this potential danger and take a defensive attitude towards it.
Do you ride with a DUI driver? Every year several thousand passengers are killed, or receive incapacitating injuries in DUI accidents.
Do you walk or ride a bike, especially in the evening? Several thousand are killed or injured in DUI accidents that were not in either of the cars involved in the accident. This group includes pedestrians, bicyclist, and bystanders.
From a law enforcement point of view, the Murrieta Police Department actively works DUI enforcement on several levels. Our Department is very fortunate to have many of our officers assigned to the field certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s). These officers have all volunteered to go through extensive schooling and conduct practical hands on experience identifying people under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Since they are experts in this field, they tend to make a lot of our DUI arrests. We also have a dedicated DUI car four nights a week patrolling for nothing but DUI drivers. We are also very fortunate to have just received a state traffic grant that allows for traffic officers to devote a significant amount of time every week to DUI patrols and checkpoints.
Ultimately, we all must work to seek a change in behavior by promoting more positive attitudes toward this problem, and fostering a set of values that reflects individual responsibilities toward impaired driving. Although some DUI drivers would disagree, it is not an individual’s personal business whether or not they want to accept the risk of driving impaired. This is an outdated and irresponsible belief. In addition to impaired driver fatalities every year, many passengers and pedestrians are killed because of those types of beliefs. Working in law enforcement and doing the death notifications, we have a very real grasp on the horror in those numbers felt by the families left behind. As a community, we need to actively promote the mindset that no one has the right to endanger others by driving impaired, or risk becoming a burden to society as a result of some incapacitating injury sustained from a drug or alcohol related accident. Realistically, everyone has an obligation to each other to speak up before your friend or family member gets into a vehicle impaired. Only when society as a whole views DUI as a negative behavior that cannot be tolerated or condoned, will the public’s behavior begin to change. This is the long-term solution. Enjoy the approaching holidays and please do not drive impaired.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas for future articles. Please feel free to contact me at 951-461-6302 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.