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Does it seem like there are more crazy drivers on the roads?

The statistics indicate it’s true

Plumas County saw a lot of traffic over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Anecdotally there were sightings of people driving the wrong way on one-way streets, making abrupt turns, pulling out into traffic, running stop signs, weaving on the highways and other bad moves, but there are also statistics to back up those stories.

This year the Quincy area California Highway Patrol (which serves the majority of the county) reported 14 arrests over the four-day holiday weekend. That’s up from just three last year, and six in 2017. Add in the arrests by the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and that number adds up to 36, compared to 19 in 2018 and 25 in 2017.

Many of those arrests were DUI related, and based on the number of incidents reported in the Sheriff’s Blotter about people driving all over the roadways, no doubt many more impaired drivers could have been cited if found. The worst incident actually occurred after the weekend officially ended, when a suspected drunk driver failed to stop in a construction zone inflicting major injuries on another driver and the flagger.

We know that the CHP is doing everything it can to take impaired and distracted drivers off the roads. Officers focus on areas that have the highest rates of vehicular incidents and even set up a sobriety checkpoint this year. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving constantly seek to raise public awareness. But that doesn’t seem to be enough to stop people from consuming alcohol and/or drugs and driving.

Impaired drivers coupled with our unforgiving roadways are deadly incidents waiting to happen. Driving local highways is treacherous enough — how many times have you rounded a corner to find someone in your path? It takes swift reflexes to avoid a collision. Add in someone who is not operating at full capacity and the danger increases.

What many might not be aware of is that 0.80 is in some ways just a number. Any measurable amount of alcohol can render one culpable in the event of an accident. Yes, there is driving under the influence, but there is also driving while intoxicated. It’s just not worth it. Have a designated driver.

Also gleaned from the blotter

Another alarming trend that has been observed in incidents involving law enforcement is the increasing number of domestic violence calls and others involving fights or threats. Again, anecdotally, people seem to be more on edge. If that’s true does it have to do with general tenor of the country, of the foreboding that it’s fire season, or something else? It makes us appreciate the response that we have from our sheriff’s office, and for the CHP that covers when sheriff’s deputies aren’t available. Still, if this trend continues, more county resources are going to be needed to enhance local law enforcement.

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