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Santa Clara County Receives $101,500 Grant to Reduce Drunk Driving

The county Sheriff's Office will use the money to staff DUI checkpoints and patrols, and target repeat offenders.

The California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded a $101,500 grant to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office to tackle the primary cause of death on local streets and highways: drunk driving.

As announced Wednesday, the funding will go towards staffing DUI/Driver’s License checkpoints, multi-agency DUI Task Force Deployments, and local DUI saturation patrols, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Spokesperson Jose Cardoza.

‘Worst of the worst’ repeat offenders will also be targeted through warrant/probation sweeps and “Court Sting Enforcement Operations” -- focusing on DUI offenders who leave court hearings and drive away on suspended licenses after a judge orders them not to drive.

These DUI prevention activities are organized through the ‘Avoid the 13’ DUI campaign --  a reference to the 13 participating agencies, including the Gilroy Police Department.  

“The ‘Avoid the 13’ DUI campaign is named to send the message that if you don’t drink and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the 13 participating law enforcement agencies in the county,” said Gilroy Police Chief Denise Turner, who is also President of the Santa Clara County Police Chief’s Association, in a statement.

DUI deaths are over 30 percent of traffic fatalities in Santa Clara County, according to Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. 

Yet crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints are conducted often enough, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

During the last major DUI crackdown period, Sheriff’s deputies in Santa Clara County for being under the influence.

In general, motorists can expect to see DUI campaigns during winter and summer holiday periods, with the next scheduled for Cinco de Mayo. 

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