County law enforcement is increasing patrol units in Goleta this weekend to address the expected increase of intoxicated drivers on the roads this Halloween.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. has assigned twelve patrol cars to monitor the entry and exit points into Isla Vista from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday through Sunday. Deputies from Guadalupe, Lompoc, state parks, Santa Barbara and UCSB specializing in DUI enforcement will participate in the holiday crackdown.
According to Jan Ford, public information officer for Avoid the 12, the patrols’ presence alone deters drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.
“Isla Vista is a small area. You can jam people in there and it is bound to be dangerous,” Ford said. “There is also just the visual of seeing a lot of patrol cars that makes people go, ‘Hmm, maybe I will not drink and drive.’”
Ford said each patrol car is assigned two deputies who will pull over any drivers suspected of being under the influence.
“What we do is we take officers from several jurisdictions,” Ford said. “And what we do is we … have them drive around and look for dangerous drivers who are very often DUI suspects.”
Silas Miers, law enforcement program specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving California, said the saturation of officers in the area is important because many people are not concerned with the risks of drinking and driving.
“Really what we found is enforcement has a generally deterrent effect,” Miers said. “People are more likely to not drink and drive if they think they will get in a wreck. People have that attitude that it is not going to happen to me, [but] you are more likely to get arrested and get into a crash.”
Miers said this weekend is of particular concern because there will be a concentration of out-of-town young adults who are considered to be more prone to getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Miers also said it is important for students to prepare ways to safely commute during the holiday weekend.
“It is sort of a time of year in which people who are younger attend parties and consume alcohol and take the risk to drive,” Miers said. “If you make the plan before you leave your house then you do not have to worry about it.”
Third-year communication major Morgan Ryan said he also agrees that it is especially important to keep county roads safe during a time of increased weekend traffic.
“I think that having the extra enforcement definitely helps to keep the roads safer for the epic weekend coming up.” Ryan said. “People should just not drink and drive. If you can not walk, then take a taxi or be completely sober so you do not end up getting busted by the police.”