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Fresno Nation’s Toughest Town on Drunk Driving

LCT Staff
Posted on November 29, 2006

FRESNO, CALIF. — Fresno may be the toughest city in the nation on drunken drivers. An intoxicated motorist is more likely to run into a police checkpoint in this city of 461,000 than anywhere else in the USA, according to Fresno police. Police sneak into the driveways of convicted drunken drivers to plant Global Positioning System tracking devices on their cars and search their homes for evidence they've been drinking.

Fresno's hard-as-nails approach to drunken driving comes at a time when some police, prosecutors, probation officials and traffic safety advocates are calling for stepped-up efforts to reduce the death toll from drunken driving. After declining steadily for nearly 20 years, the number of people killed each year in alcohol-related crashes leveled off, at 16,000 to 17,000, in the mid-1990s and hasn't dropped significantly since.

Fresno’s crackdown began when Jerry Dyer became chief in 2001 and realized that more people in his city were being killed in automobile collisions than in homicides. He hired 92 new officers, boosted revenue from traffic fines by $5 million a year, and cut drunken-driving deaths.

Fresno also began warning those convicted of DUIs that, while they were on probation, GPS devices might be attached to their cars. In September, MADD gave Fresno police its "Outstanding Law Enforcement Agency" award.

Source: USA Today

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