According to KSEE 24 news, there were four DUI accidents over the weekend.
The first DUI related accident occurred in Bear Creek. In this accident members of the Fresno Police Department spent hours attempting to free a submerged car and its occupants from the water. The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to reports, his blood alcohol concentration was .13%. Unfortunately, the passenger was killed in the accident.
In Clovis, law enforcement reports that a man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after striking a pedestrian. Fortunately, the pedestrian is expected to be fine. This individual may face felony driving under the influence charges. If the pedestrian was not injured, he will only face misdemeanor charges for driving under the influence.
A Fresno police officer was also injured after an individual who was suspected of driving under the influence attempted to escape. The officer was struck by the side mirror of the vehicle.
According to Captain Hall of the Fresno Police Department, arresting every driver for driving under the influence is not the answer. Hall is quoted as saying, “We have to make it socially unacceptable.”
While this is a sentiment shared by some, including organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it is unlikely that driving after having consumed alcohol will ever be deemed socially unacceptable. Clearly, it is not acceptable for an individual to be under the influence and operate a motor vehicle. It is also not acceptable for an individual to drive with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08%. However, the law, as it currently stands, and has for years, recognizes that an individual is legally authorized to consume alcohol and operate a motor vehicle. In fact, in California it is not illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration below .08%. The law applies differently to minors, individuals on probation for driving under the influence, and individuals operating motor vehicles under the influence of narcotics.
Since making driving with alcohol in one’s system is legal, and society will most likely never deem it to be unacceptable, the answer to the issue may be far more complex than arresting every individual in Fresno who elects to consume an alcoholic beverage and operate a motor vehicle. The answer to solving the so called “problem” also does not include setting up DUI checkpoints every weekend, and conducting DUI sting operations on a weekly basis where members of the Fresno Police Department hide outside local establishments and arrest individuals who get in their vehicles and drive away. (It may even be easier and less dangerous to the motorist, bystanders, and the Fresno Police officers involved to simply stop the motorist before they attempt to drive away.)
To solve the problem it may be necessary for the Fresno Police Department, other law enforcement agencies, lobbyists, and the government to approach the “problem” in a different manner. The current approach is clearly not effective as a deterrent. Stay tuned for the new approach to solving the problem…