Special units from the Riverside Police Department have made more than 400 DUI related arrests on special patrols in 2012 in an effort to curb serious drunk driving accident fatalities throughout the city.

The most recent of these 20 scheduled patrols took place over the past weekend, from 7 p.m. on Friday through 3 a.m. Saturday, where officers were on a focused looked out for drunken or drugged drivers who were either driving too quickly or too slowly.

“They kill a lot of people, so that’s why [we] do it. Hopefully it’s a deterrent,” says Officer Michael Foster, who was on the weekend patrol.

Though no significant arrests were made over this particular outing, officers are still encouraged by the positive results of their late night work. “I enjoy it because I’ve been to too many fatal crashes,” says Sgt. Skip Showalter, head of the Major Accident Investigation Team at the Riverside PD. “I know if I’m able to make an arrest, I know I made an impact.”

Though still dangerously high, DUI accident fatalities have been trending downward for the last half decade, thanks to focused work like this. Throughout Riverside County, 155 were killed and another 1,975 were injured in alcohol related collisions in 2006. By 2010, those numbers dropped to 76 deaths and 1,417 injuries.

Even on patrols where few arrests are made, the influence of heavier police inspection is often enough to influence potential drunk drivers to avoid the road, noted department spokesman Chris Cochran.

“They knew we’re out there,” adds Sergeant Showalter. “Plant this little seed in their head that I’m out there looking for drunk drivers… our job isn’t to arrest a bunch of people. If anything, we’re showing that people are complying.”

Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents throughout the country. Law enforcement agencies like the Riverside PD have been hard at work over the recent years to not only prevent these kinds of dangerous accidents through checkpoints and patrols, but by better educating drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence as well.

If you or someone you know has been hurt in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you should seek help for the damages that you have sustained. Through the help of an experienced Riverside accident lawyer, you can receive compensation from those at fault to recover.

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