The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) recently awarded Yolo County’s District Attorney’s Office $200,000 for the continuation of its statewide recognized DUI program. The unit, which was formed in 2012, focuses on the prosecution and prevention of DUI cases as well as outreach, and law enforcement training. The program’s goal is to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries.
The Deputy District Attorneys that are assigned to the program prosecute the most serious and complex DUI cases, such as those involving injury and death, and those involving drug impairment. Deputy District Attorneys assigned to these cases handle them through all stages of the criminal process, from the time of the arrest through sentencing, and focus closely on training law enforcement throughout California on DUI investigation. To date, close to 1,400 officers have been reached through DUI training by the Yolo County District Attorney’s OTS grant.
The program has also been very active in community outreach, including local high schools, youth programs, UC Davis programs, local Greek organizations, and the Yolo County Citizen’s Academy. During the last three years the OTS program has focused on educating youths on the dangers of DUI especially as it relates to drugs. While marijuana is now legal the program has made it a point to educate that marijuana causes impairment despite 34% of teenagers believing it is safe to drive after smoking marijuana. Since beginning this program, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has reached nearly every high school in the area with live DUI trials that are conducted in front of the students.
“Yolo County, along with all of California, will face a unique time in its history with cannabis becoming more accessible through businesses this year,” emphasized District Attorney Jeff Reisig. “With an increasing number of DUIs nationwide over the last few years it is crucial that law enforcement agencies and District Attorney’s offices dedicate resources toward protecting unsuspecting victims from the destruction that DUI drivers leave both physically and emotionally on their victims and the victims’ families. Our OTS program allows us to be proactive in deterrence through education, but at the same time reactive through holding those accountable who break the law and put the public at risk.”
Funding for the program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.