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Carlsbad Police Department targeting drunken driving

CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Police Department launched a campaign on Jan. 1 to reduce drunken driving in the city.

According to Police Lt. Mickey Williams, who is heading up the DUI campaign, it is part of the region-wide effort to reduce DUI’s -— the “Avoid the 8 on 78” campaign — which refers to the eight law enforcement departments along state Route 78.

“Departmentally we’ve just decided this year to put a stronger emphasis on DUI enforcement,” Williams said.

Last year, there were seven traffic fatalities, although not all were alcohol related, according to Williams.

In an effort to reduce traffic fatalities to zero, the department is assigning one or two officers each night to DUI enforcement and offering more DUI related training to officers.

“It’s kind of an intricate, detail-oriented type of enforcement,” Williams said.

Officers have to do preliminary alcohol screening tests and properly administer chemical tests as part of DUI enforcement.

Another portion of enforcement is writing specific DMV reports, which Williams said, is not necessary for other types of incidents.

“There’s just a lot of things that go into DUI enforcement that are unique,” Williams said, “and if you don’t do it frequently it may be a challenge.”

Seven traffic fatalities aren’t “exceedingly high,” said Williams. He said in past years, traffic fatalities have reached 11 or 12 but the goal of the department is always to have zero.

“This is more a directed approach to try and address a serious issue that we recognize,” Williams said.

The department is working with the city’s traffic engineer to identify areas that have had historically high DUI related incidents.

Williams said those areas will be targeted, but not at the exclusion of everywhere else.

The targeted enforcement doesn’t cost anything. It’s a reallocation of resources.

“We’re trying to work not just harder but smarter,” Williams said.