The Los Angeles city attorney, this week, strongly urged residents not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs as a surge in coronavirus cases continue to overwhelm hospital and ICU capacity all over Southern California during this holiday season. According to a KTLA news report, City Attorney Mike Feuer said that it could be very difficult to get help if you are in a car accident, either as a driver or a passenger.
Serious Concern About DUIs
Alarmingly, DUI arrests and incidents have been way up during the pandemic. Even with two stay-at-home orders that have shuttered bars and banned gatherings in the city this year, Feuer said that between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, his officer prosecuted more than 5,000 DUI cases – 4,601 involving alcohol, 384 tied to drugs and 100 linked to both. More than 300 people were previously convicted of driving drunk and did not have the required ignition interlock device, which is a Breathalyzer-like device installed in vehicles of previous offenders.
Last New Year’s Eve and Day, California Highway Patrol officers arrested 491 DUI suspects and killed at least three people. CHP said at the time that it was the equivalent of removing an impaired driver from the road nearly every four minutes. As of Sunday, Dec. 20, Los Angeles County had only 354 ICU beds available out of 21,556. Four county-run hospitals are preparing an emergency plan in the event that a shortage of beds or health care workers prevents them from treating every patient.
Health officials said dealing with DUI victims strains an already strained health system. They said a large family was sent to a public trauma center over the weekend after a drunk driver hit them. Officials said that the hospital’s job was made all the more difficult because of the high number of COVID-19 patients they already cared for.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Please do not drink and drive if you plan to host a small gathering or participate in one this holiday season. There are a number of options, including taking a rideshare vehicle, asking a designated sober driver to drop you off at home or staying at the host’s location until you sober up. Over the last few weeks, we have already seen too many horrific tragedies in Southern California caused by DUI drivers.
If a DUI driver has injured you or lost a loved one in a DUI crash, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI victims’ lawyer who can help uphold your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.