SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The California Highway Patrol is stepping up its efforts to get impaired drivers off the road.
The enhanced enforcement program started on Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2018.
For the program, Santa Cruz County CHP officers will focus on highways 1, 9, 17, 35, 129, 152 and 236.
It will also include “problematic” roads such as Freedom Boulevard, Buena Vista Drive and Graham Hill Road.
“This grant will help keep the momentum going by removing impaired drivers before they kill or severely injure themselves or others,” said CHP Capt. Craig Kunzler, commander of the Santa Cruz Area office. “With a proactive approach to raise awareness and eliminate driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we can continue to reduce the number of collisions occurring in Santa Cruz County.”
The program is funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, there were 158 people either killed or injured in 111 traffic collisions involving impaired drivers on CHP jurisdictional roadways within Santa Cruz County between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015.
The program will also include a community-based task force and public awareness and education campaign to help reinforce the dangers of driving while impaired.
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, CHP officials stress that prescription medications and marijuana can impair drivers and lead to DUI arrests.