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Police departments raise awareness

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by Jaclyn Roco
Staff Writer

The La Verne Police Department joined forces recently with 20 other police agencies in Los Angeles County to set up an exposition designed to create awareness of the dangers of drunken driving.

The day long Driving Under the Influence exposition took place in the Rose Bowl parking lot in Pasadena.

LVPD Lt. Darryl Seube said that the exposition was created to show the consequences of driving under the influence.

The annual event was set up by 50 police agencies in Los Angeles County, Seube said.

Only 20 of the 50, however, sent representatives to the exposition.

Besides the LVPD, other participating agencies included: the California Highway Patrol, the Huntington Police Department, the Pomona Police Department, the San Gabriel Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

“This (exposition) involves the Police Association of Los Angeles County,” Seube said.

The organization, also known as PALAC, is the traffic committee for Los Angeles County’s 50 police agencies.

For the event, cones were set up on the road to create an obstacle course for drivers.

The drivers included newspaper and television reporters, Seube said.

“We had four driving patterns that they had to drive through when they’re sober. They had to go along and look for the red and green lights. A green light showed them where to turn,” Seube said.

While driving, these volunteers were being evaluated on the choices that they made.

After the volunteers had finished, the police would help escort them to a tent where they would get them “liquored up,” Seube said.

The cones that littered the ground were proof of the indecision and limited ability that drunk drivers have, he said.

“When they are drunk,” Seube said, “they drive carefully. They drive slower because their response time has been diminished. At 0.8, drivers don’t think they’re drunk and that’s when they get into accidents.”

Seube said that not everyone would get drunk at the same rate because of weight differences.

Another factor is how much an individual has eaten, since food tends to soak up some of the alcohol in the body, it can affect BAC.

Despite these different factors in drinking levels, the California law applies to everyone.

“Zero-point-eight is illegal in California,” Seube said. “This is the level where you are presumed under the influence if you are an adult. For minors, 0.1 can make you lose your drivers license.”

Anybody under the age of 21 is considered a minor, Seube said.

Minors, however, will not be prosecuted if under the influence, but their license will be revoked or suspended.

Along with the demonstrations, the event featured speakers and various displays.

People were even allowed to go through a simulation of drunk driving with the aid of DUI goggles.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, drunk driving is the most commonly committed crime in the United States.

In 1995, an estimated 17,274 people were killed in car accidents that were related to, or caused by alcohol.

This statistic amounts to approximately one alcohol related car crash every 32 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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