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Statewide Campaign Strive to Reduce DUIs

By: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
Thursday, December 14, 2006 11:21 PM PST

Prosecutors throughout California launched a coordinated statewide campaign, the first of its kind in the nation, to battle a rising tide of driving under the influence arrests and fatalities.

The campaign is in response to recent statistics showing an alarming increase in DUI arrests and injuries in California despite declining number in the rest of the country.

The California District Attorney Association's campaign "Make it Home for the Holidays," kicked off Tuesday. Officials announced a $3.6 million grant from the federal Office of Transportation Safety, to assist prosecutors in California in combating DUI offenses.

"The tragedy of drunk driving is many fold; it ruins lives, destroys families, and inflicts suffering on countless innocent friends and family members," said Brad Fenocchio, Placer County District Attorney. "Placer County has filed 2,193 DUI cases in 2005 with 3 of those being fatalities."

The OTS grant was awarded to Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully's office through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It will fund a program to divide the state into five regions with a Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor assigned to each, Scully said.

Specially trained prosecutors will provide education and training to prosecutors in each region throughout the state with a goal of reducing DUI related arrests and injuries.

"Too many innocent lives are lost or shattered each year as a result of people driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs," Scully said. "California is moving in the wrong direction in the fight against impaired driving and we as an association are determined to do something about it."

Dave LaBahn, executive director of CDAA, said the OTS grant was the largest single grant the prosecutors' association had ever received.

"In 2005, 1,719 people lost their lives on California roads as a result of alcohol related accidents, accounting for over 40 percent of all traffic related fatalities. That is simply intolerable," LaBahn said.

"Make It Home for the Holidays" is CDAA's effort to remind people during a season of festivities of the very real human toll that driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs takes on families and loved ones.

Article courtesy of

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