A 53-year-old Sonoma County man managed to crash into a street light pole two times within the same evening last Sunday night and was later determined to be driving under the influence with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.23 when authorities later arrived on scene at the Highway 101 off ramp at Arata Lane. With an increase in accidents and DUI’s during the holidays, such as this case, the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety are urging residents to be safe and to not drink and drive.
RP Director of Public Safety, Brian Masterson, says there is a noticeable increase in accidents and DUI’s during Christmas and other major holidays such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day. According to the California Highway Patrol, DUI arrests double during the period of the New Year’s holidays, and according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in Forbes magazine, around one third of all total highway related fatalities, “can be attributed to at least one party to the incident driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.”
“We do see an increase of accidents and DUI’s… during the national holidays, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Christmas, but it differs every year,” Masterson said.
The NHTSA says at particular times of the year such as the Christmas period, around an average of 45 fatalities involving those driving under the influence occurred each day during that holiday period.
Masterson says last month Sonoma County saw three DUI related fatalities, a bit of a higher figure than usual. In 2015 the county saw a total of 3,193 fatal and injury collisions and only 376, or 11.776 percent, were alcohol related, according to data from the California Office of Traffic Safety.
In an effort to help reduce the amount of holiday related DUI’s and accidents, Masterson said it is important to have a plan to get home if you are going to an office party or dinner that may have adult beverages.
“It’s always good to have a plan in place if you are going to drink. Take a taxi or an Uber, designate a designated driver who can drive you safely to and from a party. If you have the ability to stay over at a friend’s or are at a party at a hotel you can book a room,” Masterson said.
According to Geomarketing.com, Uber does see an uptick in business during the holidays, especially after Christmas near New Years. According to the website, 15 million users of the ride-sharing app took Uber during the holidays
And as for checking to make sure local drivers continue to stay safe, Rohnert Park Public Safety did have a planned DUI checkpoint for Nov. 25, however, the planned checkpoint had to be cancelled. Masterson did say the department is planning another checkpoint for the holiday season.
The 53-year-old, Glenn Getchell who crashed his Ford Expedition into the multiple light poles suffered a few injuries and was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Getchell was “subsequently” arrested for DUI and Hit and Run, but was given release at the hospital due to his medical condition, according to a Nixle notification from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. The Windsor Police Department is asking if anyone has further information about the case to call their department at (707) 838-1234.