Tuesday Mar 10 2009
Too much celebrating? Not worth the risk
By: Mike Blair Roseville Chief of Police
Ah, spring. The flowers are budding, the days are getting longer, and the kids are restless. St. Patrick’s Day and spring break are right around the corner. Unfortunately, spring celebrations also bring an increase in DUI collisions and underage drinking. St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a time to celebrate Irish heritage and gather with friends, but if it leads to drunk driving, it can quickly end in tragedy. If your plans include drinking, be responsible and take appropriate precautions. Plan a safe way home before the celebration begins by designating a sober driver in advance. If you’re buzzed, don’t get behind the wheel. Call a taxi or a sober friend for a ride home. If you think drunk driving isn’t a concern in Roseville, you’re wrong. Overall, we’re pleased to see Roseville’s streets becoming safer. In 2008 fewer traffic collisions and fewer people were killed and injured on Roseville’s roadways than in 2007. Unfortunately, drunk-driving collisions are a different story. Roseville Police officers investigated 134 DUI-related collisions in 2008, 19 percent more than the previous year. One person was killed and 65 injured last year by drunk drivers. Impaired drivers risk their lives and the lives of everyone else that shares the road. They also risk an embarrassing and expensive arrest with long-term consequences. Roseville Police officers arrest between 80 and 100 impaired drivers every month. Our department has one of the highest DUI arrest rates in the state, and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office has the highest DUI conviction rate in the state. It is just not smart to drink and drive here. With spring break around the corner and graduation following, it’s time to remind teens and parents about the hazards of underage drinking. It is not Ok for parents or any other adults to provide alcohol to minors, and adults who do can be held legally liable. The Placer County Health and Human Services Substance Abuse Prevention program reports that in 25 Placer County focus groups, teens consistently reported that parents, either their own or their friends’ parents, were among the most common sources of alcohol. The local teenage focus groups also almost unanimously concurred that most parents are unaware about the extent of teenage substance abuse. I encourage parents to visit the Placer Parent Host Program’s Web site at www.pcoparenthost.com for an eye-opening education about underage drinking in our area. Parents can also register on the Web site to be safe hosts, promising not to serve alcohol to teens or condone underage alcohol use in their homes. Spring is a time to celebrate new life. Let’s be safe and responsible, so that we all can enjoy many more spring seasons to come.