LOS ANGELES – With a heightened rate of incidents during the holidays, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer joined with the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to warn the public against the dangers of driving under the influence.
The City Attorney announced that his office has secured a grant to continue increasing the prosecutions of those driving under the influence of drugs. Feuer also released that his office has filed over 12,000 DUI cases since the beginning of 2013.
As a legislator, Feuer authored the law requiring the installation of ignition-interlock devices on vehicles owned by people convicted of DUI.
“If you drink or take drugs don’t drive,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer. “Our office is aggressively enforcing impaired driving laws and implementing innovative programs to save lives.”
According to an analysis by the Automobile Club of Southern California, alcohol related fatalites and injuries during the holidays are 86% higher than the rest of the year. In 2012, the City Attorney’s Office filed 577 DUI cases for the two week holiday period.
A $520,790 grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will fund two full-time deputy city attorneys who prosecute driving under the influence of drugs, or combination alcohol and drug cases, through each step of the process.
In addition, the grant will support an expanded oral fluid collection program to determine the presence of drugs by officers in the field, expert testimony to allow for oral fluid as a new evidentiary tool in California courts, and on site phlebotomists at sobriety checkpoints. During the first year of the Impaired Driver Proseuction Program the two prosecutors filed 534 DUI drug cases and 64 DUI combination alcohol and drug cases. Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The oral fluid collection program, employing a swabbing method, is currently used at Los Angeles DUI checkpoints and in the three LAPD booking divisions in jails. Feuer said it his goal to expand this program to include testing in the field during the coming year.
“We can’t let up on the efforts to promote and enforce traffic safety,” said Russia Chavis, Acting Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). “Far too many are still losing their lives or being severely injured on our roadways.”
“MADD Los Angeles-Ventura encourages adults to always designate a non-drinking driver before leaving home for holiday festivities,” said Patricia Rillera, Executive Director, MADD, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.