Public Safety

Drive Sober: Don’t Ring in New Year in Jail or a Hospital

Video by Autumn Endara

Here’s a New Year’s resolution that you can start early: Never drive while impaired from alcohol or drugs.

Make a safe plan to get home if you expect to be toasting in the New Year, and if that falls through, there are some companies in San Diego that are offering free rides to people.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting increased DUI patrols through January 1. Impaired driving doesn’t just refer to alcohol. It includes marijuana and prescription drugs. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you will go to jail.

As of mid-December this year, more than 1,000 people have been arrested for DUI by the Sheriff’s Department. In 2017, deputies arrested 1,225 people for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A DUI arrest can result in fines and court fees costs of $15,000 or more, said Sheriff’s Capt. Herbert Taft. More importantly, it could result in tragedy.

“A drunk driver could injure or kill someone we love,” said Taft.

The Sheriff’s Department has these tips for a safe holiday season:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi or ride-hailing service. You can also call a sober friend/family member or use public transportation.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Funding for this DUI enforcement program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact