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Tips from CHiPs: Avoiding a DUI 

Ken Antonetti, author of Tips from CHiPs, is an officer with the California Highway Patrol based out of Coalinga.

Ken Antonetti, author of Tips from CHiPs, is an officer with the California Highway Patrol based out of Coalinga.

–What is the first thought that pops into your mind when thinking of DUI? Most of the time people think of being placed in handcuffs, put in the rear of a patrol vehicle, spending the night in jail and paying a bunch of money in court fines and fees. This is completely accurate, however it is just touching the surface.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both can cost you over $40,000 (according to the Department of Motor Vehicles) for a first time offense. What could be worse than paying that much for a DUI? Killing innocent people is much worse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 (the most current statistics available) 32,675 people were killed in traffic collisions.

A staggering 9,967 people were killed in DUI related crashes which were completely preventable. If the DUI driver survives, it won’t be $40,000 they will have to worry about, they will likely be charged with murder. People v. Watson was an important court decision which set the foundation to substantiate a second degree murder charge for anyone who, as a result of driving under the influence, takes another’s life. Here are a few Tips from CHiPs regarding DUI driving:

1. If you are planning on going out and having a few drinks, be sure to have a sober driver designated or get a cab. Planning ahead of time can not only save you a lot of money, but it may also save a life.

2. If you are the designated sober driver, be sure you take your responsibility seriously. Ensure all your passengers are wearing their seatbelts, obey all the laws and make sure to pay 100-percent of your attention to your driving.

Remember, transporting people is a huge responsibility. The occupants’ lives are literally in your hands. As always, follow all traffic laws, make sure all occupants in your vehicle are secured properly, never drink and drive, stay off the phone and drive safe.
Any questions for CHP can be written to Officer Ken Antonetti either by mail, email, or in person. Our office is located at 125 South Sixth Street, Coalinga, CA 93210. Any mail can be sent to Coalinga CHP at the above address, please make it attention to Officer Ken Antonetti. My email address is kantonetti@chp.ca.gov.

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