Drunk Driving Prevention and Awareness

officers holding MADD awards

Officer Donald Hinton and Lieutenent David Dougherty (who is now Chief of Police) accept the MADD California Heroes Award for Officer Hinton's work to prevent drunk driving.

SSU Police Department is committed to helping foster a safe learning environment for our campus community. Our dedicated staff are proud to protect and serve our unique and exceptional students and faculty.

Among the services that the officers provide for the community is educating the campus on the topic of drunk driving, deterring drunk driving through high visibility patrols and apprehending drunk drivers.

Our officers are trained in recognizing the signs and symptoms of DUI drivers and conducting field sobriety tests that have been validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA was established to carry out safety programs and direct consumer programs established by various traffic and motor vehicle acts. For more on the information that NHTSA provides on driving safety, vehicle safety research, teen and college DUI prevention, visit their web site.

Did You Know?

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), over 1.1 million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also according to MADD, every 48 minutes someone on average is killed in a drunk driving crash- 10,876 people (2017 statistics).

MADD's mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this crime and prevent underage drinking. For more information about the services that MADD provides, including helpful information that students or faculty may use to foster discussion, visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving web site.

Avoid the 13

Avoid the 13 campaign

Officers from Sonoma State University Police participate in the Avoid the 13 Sonoma County DUI task force. Throughout the year, DUI checkpoints are one of the most visible ways the task force educates the public and takes drunk drivers off the roads. The Avoid the 13 program is a collaborative effort among the 13 law enforcement agencies in Sonoma County, raising awareness about the problems associated with drunk driving.

March 15, 2019 – Officers from Rohnert Park, Cotati, and University Police conducted a DUI checkpoint along East Cotati Avenue. They screened 819 drivers and a 44 year old woman was arrested, suspected of her fourth DUI arrest in 4 years. She was one of two arrested for suspicion of DUI, and she was booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

DUI Myths

Myth #1:

  • A "responsible drinker" won't get arrested for DUI. The term "responsible drinker" implies that someone can consume a moderate amount of alcohol and still safely drive a car. However, the staggering number of alcohol-related crash fatalities, injuries, and DUI arrests every year proves that "responsible drinking" is a failed concept.
  • Myth #2: 0.08 is the "legal limit". A driver can be arrested and convicted after consuming any amount of alcohol, drugs, or even prescribed medication. A DUI arrest is based upon impairment - not the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
  • Myth #3: A person who refuses to take a breath-alcohol test can't be convicted of a DUI offense. While it's true that a breath sample provides the police with valuable evidence, a refusal may also be considered with the totality of circumstances surrounding the offense.
  • Myth #4: Coffee, water, cold showers, and certain foods can sober up an intoxicated person. Time is the only way a person can get sober. Eliminating alcohol from the body is an extremely slow metabolic process that requires many hours to complete

Plan Your Ride Home Before the Event

Take the risk out of impaired driving, have a designated driver plan before you go out. It's a simple way to get home or to a location safely and requires as few as two people. Having the number of a taxi service with you is also a great way to get you and your friends home safely. Make sure you have set aside the funds for the taxi and know in advance if they accept cash only or cash and credit. If you are the actual designated driver:

  • Let everyone know that you are the driver
  • Don't drink alcohol, not even a little!
  • Know the addresses in advance of the people in your group
  • Be wary of other drivers on the road
  • Dial 911 if you need police or medical assistance.

If you would like to speak to an officer about the subject of drunk driving or schedule a presentation for your residential community or classroom, visit University Police or call the department at (707) 664-4444.