A message from the Newport Beach Police Department sent out to the community this week provided a few lessons for residents.
Historically, the fifth of May commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. But, for many in the United States, present-day Cinco de Mayo celebrations often lead to impaired driving – and there is no victory in that, NBPD spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella wrote in the statement.
For people planning to partake in the festivities, police officials have some numbers they’d like them to keep in mind. In 2015, 40 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Cinco de Mayo weekend. From 2011-2015, 270 people were killed nationwide in impaired-driving crashes during the Cinco de Mayo holiday, according to authorities.
On Friday and Saturday, NBPD will be deployed specifically for the purpose of identifying and stopping impaired drivers.
“Every traffic and patrol officer on duty will be on heightened alert to prevent a senseless tragedy due to alcohol or drugs,” Manzella wrote in the press release.
Saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints, or other high-visibility deployments by police, have been proved to reduce the number of people killed and injured in alcohol- or drug-impaired crashes, police reported. Research shows that crashes involving impaired drivers can be reduced by up to 20 percent when these types of deployments are routinely conducted.
Taking prescription drugs (particularly those with a warning on the label about driving or operating machinery) or using marijuana (especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs) and be incredibly impairing, and can result in a DUI, police warn in the message.
Funding for this DUI operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.