OAKLAND -- Police will be cracking down even harder on drunken drivers in the coming year with the help of a state-funded grant, officials announced Monday.
The yearlong anti-DUI program is funded by $240,000 from the California Office of Traffic Safety, Oakland police Lt. Sharon Williams said. The program includes DUI and driver's license checkpoints, warrant sweeps, saturation patrols at times when drunken driving is common and court stings, in which police will follow and catch DUI offenders with suspended or revoked licenses who get behind the wheel after leaving the courtroom.
"DUI arrests can be embarrassing and expensive, but they're easy to prevent," Williams said. "If you're drinking, hand your keys over to a designated sober driver, or call a taxi or sober friend for a ride home. Don't risk an arrest or worse, a serious injury or even death."
According to Williams, drunken driving is among the deadliest crimes committed in the U.S.
In 2009, she said, almost 11,000 people died nationwide in highway crashes where at least one involved driver had a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit.
In California, 950 people died in such collisions, which was a 76 percent drop below the numbers from 2008, she said.
Police ask that anyone who sees a person driving drunk call 911 right away.
Contact Sean Maher at 510-208-6430.