I find the number of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests made by California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers the past three holiday weekends absolutely staggering, especially when you consider, the CHP isn’t the only agency in this state arresting individuals for driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Take a look at the DUI arrests reported by CHP:

2017 2016
Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend: 1,057 902
Christmas Holiday Weekend: 917 621
New Year’s Holiday Weekend 936 767
Total: 2,910 2,290

Driving under the influence of a substance that impairs one’s driving ability and decision-making is beyond risky behavior. We are all aware of the deadly consequences. CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed and his partner, Officer Jonathan Velasquez, was injured, Christmas Eve when a 22-year-old man believed to be under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, slammed his Cadillac into their patrol car along Interstate 880 in Hayward.

Christmas Eve! I envision Officer Camilleri’s children tucked in their beds with dreams of Christmas morning where Santa has arrived, and Dad is home to celebrate this special time of the year. But Officer Camilleri’s children woke up to an unthinkable nightmare. Their father is forever gone.

Earlier this year, a man making his way home from work pulled over to change a tire on Interstate 80 in Sacramento County. Even though he was well off the roadway, a driver suspected of being high on marijuana, struck and killed him. This gentleman was doing what you and I do every day, commuting home after an honest day’s work, but he never made it.

We have worked hard over the years to say enough is enough to drunk driving. Now it appears we have to start over with public awareness campaigns on the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs, both prescription and marijuana. If you ingest or inhale anything that is going to impair your driving, DON’T GET BEHIND THE WHEEL! A clear choice that will save lives and keep people from getting hurt.

Let’s not hear of one more child waking up on Christmas morning, or any morning, to discover his parent is never coming home. That is an unbearable loss that lasts a lifetime. No DUI, period.