Don’t Drink and Drive this Holiday Weekend

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk driving crashes. The United States Department of Transportation reports that every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes; that’s one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic deaths, a 14% increase from 2020. 

The United States Department of Transportation also notes that from 2017 to 2021, 1,460 drivers were killed in motor vehicle crashes. 38% of the drivers who died during those years were alcohol-impaired, while 44% were drunk and ages 21-34. Our County is no different; County of Santa Barbara District Attorney John Savrnoch shared 2,334 DUI total cases for 2022, a significant increase from 2021 (see graph below). Over the years, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and unsafe driving have increased in our region.

Local leaders are sharing this vital information before the long holiday weekend to prevent these types of accidents and DUIs and help save lives.

“We are here at Cathedral Oaks Road and North Kellogg Avenue, an area that community members have unofficially called the “DUI corridor, as this street and this community has seen an inexcusable amount of DUI violations and, even worse drunk driving crashes and fatalities,” said County Supervisor Laura Capps who hosted the press event on Thursday, June 29. “Although we are at this location, it does happen around our region. I almost lost my dad in 1996 when a drunk driver struck my parents on Highway 154.”   

Laura Capps, Second District Supervisor; Paula Perotte, City of Goleta Mayor; John Savrnoch, Santa Barbara County District Attorney; Craig Bonner, Santa Barbara County Undersheriff; and Victoria Placencia, Program Specialist with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Tri-Counties, along with Eeron Vela, a local community member who helped pulled two people out of an under the influence crash, held a press event on Thursday, June 29 at Cathedral Oaks and North Kellogg Avenue to warn community members about the dangers of driving under the influences, which can have deadly consequences. 


“Driving under the influence is a horrific violent act,” shared District Attorney Savrnoch. “This is a neighborhood, and there is no excuse for this crime. If you are driving under the influence, you are inches away from killing someone. Please make a safety plan before celebrating. Plans made under the influence are bad plans.” 

City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte shared a personal note as her son-in-law serves in the Sheriff’s Department. She mentioned, “Driving Under the Influence poses several threats to law enforcement. These threats can be categorized into two main areas: direct threats to the safety of law enforcement officers and indirect threats to the effectiveness of law enforcement operations.” 

Undersheriff Craig Bonner stressed how completely preventable. He notes, “Proactive, zero-tolerance enforcement of drunk-driving laws in conjunction with educational campaigns by MADD, law enforcement, and other entities have been major factors in reducing drunk-driving deaths since the 1980s – when over 20,000 people were dying yearly. But we still have a long way to go, as every death and every life-altering injury is too many. Unlike the 1980’s we have so many tools and resources, Lyft, Uber, taxi and designated drivers, that DUIs are completely preventable.”


MADD program specialist, Victoria Placencia, shared local resources that their organization provides. “MADD Victim Services is here to provide you with emotional support and assistance in various ways after a drunk or drugged driving crash, all at no cost to victims and survivors. If you, or someone you love, has been a victim of this crime, you can contact MADD Victim Advocate, 24 hours a day, at our victim helpline at 1-877-MAD-HELP (1-877-623-3435).”

Supervisor Capps closed out the press event, thanking local leaders and acknowledging the good work of local community member Eeron Vela – a father of five who woke up to a car fire on Cathedral Oaks and risked his life to pull out both young persons in the car – the most recent DUI crash on Cathedral Oaks. 


Leaders noted, “Please celebrate responsibly and do not drive under the influence this long holiday weekend.”

Pictured left-to-right: MADD program specialist Victoria Placencia, Undersheriff Craig Bonner, Second District Supervisor Laura Capps, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte and County of Santa Barbara District Attorney John Savrnoch