The History of AVOID
The AVOID Anti-DUI Program was launched in the winter of 1973 to bring law enforcement agencies together in countywide clusters to crack down on the drinking driver and reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by alcohol related crashes. Funding, provided by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, allows counties to add overtime hours, reassign officers, and conduct public awareness campaigns during the increased enforcement periods.
The overall goal of the awareness campaign is to let drivers know about the countywide increased enforcement periods and warn drivers that the only way to "AVOID" the county's law enforcement officers is to drive sober. Increased enforcement periods are active statewide during the National Anti DUI Mobilization Campaigns, which are Mid-December through New Years; Mid August through Labor Day weekend and during the high traffic holiday periods on Memorial Day weekend and Independence Day weekend. Additionally, Avoid Patrols deploy on nights with high incidents of DUI offenders and DUI collisions such as Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St Patrick's Day and Cinco De Mayo.
Santa Clara County was the first to participate in the AVOID Anti-DUI Campaign. Since 1974, 41 counties have joined the program bringing over 540 law enforcement agencies together to fight drunk driving on our streets and highways. In 2003, nine Bay Area Counties joined forces to become the first regional AVOID Program in the nation with 125 participating law enforcement agencies. Currently Regional Avoid campaigns are also active with five counties in the North State Regional Avoid 30, nine counties in the Sacramento Valley Regional Avoid 70 and 6 counties in the South Central Valley Regional Avoid 60.
For the 2008-09 Avoid Campaign periods beginning Oct 2008, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is funding $6.5 Million for additional officer overtime to fan out into communities from the Oregon state line to the Mexican border to arrest drunken drivers before another senseless death occurs. California DUI deaths are declining for the first time in nearly a decade by 6.7% and law enforcement officials are doubling their efforts to save more lives.
Law enforcement is using every resource available to include: Sobriety/Driver License Checkpoints, Local Saturation Patrols, Multi Agency DUI Task Force Operations, along with Warrant/Probation Sweeps and Court Stings which target repeat DUI offenders – California's worst of the worst intoxicated drivers with suspended or revoked driving privileges.
"Zero Deaths! Every 1 Counts" is the OTS mission for 2009. Remember, you can make the difference. Always use a designated driver and as you travel – Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1.