Holiday crackdown saw 6 arrests, 2 deaths

July 11, 2013 

The long Fourth of July weekend saw a slight uptick in drunken driving arrests and two fatalities unrelated to alcohol on highways near Los Banos, according to a California Highway Patrol official.

CHP spokesman Jesse Lopez said six DUI arrests were recorded during his agency's 41/2-day maximum enforcement period. He said two people were killed in motorcycle accidents, but alcohol was not a factor. Lopez said that in 2012 there were no fatalities and four DUI arrests.

He said even though the numbers show a slight increase from last year, he believes drunken driving is waning.

"I think over the years we have seen a steady decline in drunk driving, but there's still room for improvement," Lopez said.

Traffic collision statistics were not available, Lopez said.

For the Central Valley, there were 207 DUI arrests compared to 50 last year and the same number of fatalities, six, as there were in 2012. Johnny Fisher, CHP spokesman for the Central Division, said this year's numbers are skewed because the maximum enforcement period, which is defined by 80 percent of the highway patrol being on duty, was only two days in 2012. This year the period began at 6 p.m. July 3 and concluded at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Fisher said although anti-drunken driving, seat belt and anti-speeding campaigns have not solved all traffic issues, he believes "something is better than nothing." Fisher said providing information to motorists is never a bad thing.

"We'll continue fighting," he said.

— Corey Pride

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