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Press Release

Increased Education, Enforcement About Sober Driving During Grad Week in Richmond

For release May 25, 2005

A campaign to prevent teen driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs will hit the streets and the classrooms of Richmond during the second week of June.

Contra Costa Health Services' Injury Prevention Project and Richmond Police Department are teaming up to provide classroom presentations on teen driving risks and increased DUI enforcement during graduation week in Richmond. Funding for this effort is being provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the Business, Housing and Transportation Agency.

With Memorial Day just around the corner and local high schools holding graduation ceremonies at Richmond Auditorium the week of June 6-10, OTS funding will help provide increased teen DUI enforcement, according to Richmond Police Sgt. Lee Hendricsen.

"Extra officers will be assigned to patrol for DUI from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night and we'll be doing a DUI Checkpoint," said the sergeant. "We got this grant because statistics indicate that teen DUI is a bigger problem in Richmond that other California cities its size."

"The presentations started in May at Richmond and El Cerrito high schools," said Nancy Baer, Injury Prevention Program Manager. "Students learned that California law has 'zero tolerance' for teens driving under the influence. The teens themselves came up with some alternatives to drinking and driving."

Baer said the presentations will be finished just before graduation "and we hope students will remind themselves and each other about the choices they have." She added that other traffic education activities "by and for teens" are also planned in the near future.

According to Contra Costa Health Services, from 1998-2003 34 Richmond young people age 16 to 21 were injured in drinking and driving collisions (Source: Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. Only 79 percent were wearing lap and shoulder belts at the time of the collision compared to 85 percent for the county as a whole.

For both Memorial Day and Graduation Week, Richmond Police will also be on the lookout for teens not wearing seatbelts. Teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use throughout California. "When there is a crash, seatbelts are our number one live-saving measure," said Hedricsen.

For more information about automobile safety laws and DUI prevention, call Nancy Baer at 925-313-6837.

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Press Contact
  • Nancy Baer
  • 925-313-6837
  • Sgt. Lee Hendricsen
  • 510-620-6646