The California Highway Patrol reported twice as many drunken drivers were arrested on the Bay Area freeways this New Year’s Eve during the festivities in comparison to last year. This year officers arrested 84 drivers for being under the influence between the hours of 6 p.m. on December 31 and 6 a.m. on January first. According to Officer Hugo Mendoza of the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate division, this is an increase of 43 drivers from the same period in 2007.
On midnight this past Thursday, the nine Bay Area counties wrapped up a 21-day, anti-DUI campaign. At around the same time that evening two traffic deaths of Santa Clara County were reportedly caused by intoxicated drivers. Those crashes happened Dec. 19 and 20, both on San Jose roads.
Authorities reported no DUI-related deaths in San Mateo County.
Although, this year’s reported alcohol related arrests reflected an increase in the overall statewide trend of 436 arrests compared to 362 last December 31st.
“A couple days later, now it’s way up compared to last year. It’s kind of weird,” Mendoza said. “Maybe people were not drinking during Christmas and decided to go out during New Year’s.”
Statistics from the Avoid campaign in Santa Clara Country showed DUI arrests were down as the campaign was ending midnight Thursday. Thirteen-law enforcement agencies in the South Bay have arrested 741 people for drunken driving in the 19 enforcement days through Dec. 30, compared to 859 arrests in a 19-day campaign in 2007.
For the fourth year in a row, San Mateo County authorities reported no fatal collisions related to alcohol during the enforcement period. But DUI arrests appeared to surpass last year’s total, with 290 arrests through Thursday compared to 287 during the 2007 enforcement campaign. Most of the arrests were on weekends, especially for the weekend celebration.