Join Chain | Cohn | Stiles to support MADD Kern County’s efforts to end drunk driving

November 4, 2015 | 9:49 am


For the third year in a row, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is supporting the flagship fundraising event for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County chapter aimed to end drunk driving in our community.

The personal injury and workers’ compensation* law firm will be one of the presenting sponsors for the third annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K , aimed to raise awareness in our community of the effect of drinking and driving, raise funds to stop drunken driving and underage drinking locally, and provide support to victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes.

Recently, more than 500 Kern County community members joined together in the second Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K to help put an end to drunken driving locally, and in the process raised more than $50,000 to support victims of DUI crashes. The annual event also brings together surviving victims of DUI crashes, families and friends of deceased victims, local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, first responders, advocates, and other community members rallying and running for the cause.

Medals are given to the fastest runners in their age categories, and awards are also given to the top fundraisers. Last year’s sponsors and supporters included ChevronKern Schools Federal Credit Union and FedEx to name a few. For a full list of last year’s sponsors, click here.

The third annual event will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Park at River Walk. To join the fight with MADD, click here to sign up and register for the upcoming Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K.

If you’d like to join as a sponsor of this event, click here to review the sponsorship levels.

BARBECUE FUNDAISER FOR MADD

All day Wednesday (Nov. 4, 2015) you can help with MADD Kern County’s efforts to end drunk driving in our community while enjoying a delicious barbecue meal at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.

Dickey’s — at 3505 Coffee Road in Rosedale — is donating 15 percent from all orders to MADD Kern County all day, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Simply present this flier below, or mention MADD when you order in the restaurant, or for carry-out and phone orders. For more information, call Dickey’s at 661-589-4227.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles helps raise more than $50K to help local victims of DUI crashes in Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K

September 23, 2015 | 9:24 am


More than 500 Kern County community members — including dozens from the law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles — joined together Saturday morning at the Park at River Walk to help put an end to drunken driving locally, and in the process raised more than $50,000 to support victims of DUI crashes.

The Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K aims to raise awareness in our own community, raise funds to stop drunken driving and underage drinking locally, and provide support to victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes. Saturday’s event brought together surviving victims of DUI crashes, families and friends of deceased victims, local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, first responders, advocates, and other community members rallying and running for the cause.

Medals were given to the fastest runners in their age categories, with results being posted on the Bakersfield Track Club website. Awards were also given to the top fundraisers. They were:

  • Top Friends and Family Team: MADD Dogs
  • Top Individual Fundraiser: Michael Yraceburn
  • Top Corporate Team: Kern Schools Federal Credit Union
  • Kern County Law Enforcement Challenge Winner: Kern County District Attorney’s Office

“We want to thank our advocates, heroes, champions, partners, teams, participants and volunteers for making Kern County’s Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K a huge success,” said Carla Pearson, victim advocate for MADD Kern County. “We hope Kern County will commit to continue alongside us for the next 365 days as we work to prevent this 100 percent preventable crime, and end drunk driving here.”

Chain | Cohn | Stiles joined as the gold sponsor for the event. Several other local businesses also joined the fight to end drunk driving in Kern County, including Chevron and Kern Schools Federal Credit Union. For a full list of sponsors, click here.

The firm brought together more than 40 employees, friends and family members of employees, and a few clients of the firm, who are innocent victims of DUI crashes.

Several friends of the law firm donated to the Chain | Cohn | Stiles team. Their generosity is much appreciated. They included:

  • Dr. Geoffrey Miller
  • Tom Stevenson
  • Chad Barger

Several Chain | Cohn | Stiles employees also competed in the 5K race. Attorney Matt Clark finished in 11th place overall, and a family member of a firm employee finished in the top 10. For a complete race results list, click here. Below is the top 10 finishers, and their times:

  • Kelly Blikre: 20:21
  • Stacy Phelps: 20:39
  • Garrett Sugimoto 20:49
  • Carl Hatley: 21:05
  • Mark Riehle: 22:03
  • Arjan Ynostroza: 22:09
  • Adam Martinez: 22:12
  • Garrett Rice: 22:43
  • Laila Irogoyen: 23:09
  • Vernie Herman: 23:12

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Chain | Cohn | Stiles continues fight to end drunk driving in Kern County with MADD

September 2, 2015 | 3:13 pm


California Highway Patrol gave nearly 2,200 citations for driving under the influence in Bakersfield in 2014. CHP officers in Kern County in the same year also noted 312 collisions, 422 injuries, and 14 fatalities – all involving DUI.

They are statistics, arrests and tragedies that are 100 percent preventable – choices were made by people to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. That decision affected families and communities.

In an effort to raise awareness in our own community, raise funds to stop drunken driving and underage drinking locally, and provide support to victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes, the Kern County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving will host its second Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Park at River Walk, 11200 Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield.

For the second year, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles is supporting MADD and the event, serving as sponsor and key partner in organizing the event. Earlier this year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director Jorge Barrientos was named MADD California’s volunteer of the year for his work with MADD Kern County.

This second annual event follows the first-ever Bakersfield Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash in which 700 people attended and raised more than $46,000 to fight against drunk driving locally. That event followed a tragic 2013 on Kern’s roadways in which more than 30 deaths and 600 injuries occurred at the hands of drunken drivers.

“The fight is not over,” said Carla Pearson, victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County. “People are still making the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking, putting your life and their own life at risk. These are not accidents – they are 100 percent preventable crashes.”

The event ceremony will start at 7:30 a.m. and the race and walk will kick off starting at 8 a.m. In attendance will be surviving victims of drunken driving crashes and their families, supporters, law enforcement officers with their vehicles, a Kern County Fire Department engine and giant flag, A Life Interrupted display vehicle, an activities area for kids, advocates, and other community members rallying and running for the cause.

For more information and to register to participate, go to www.walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

SPONSORS

The event is supported by local law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as sponsoring local companies. Sponsors include:

Local media is also supporting the cause and helping raise awareness. Media sponsors include:

Several other local groups are assisting MADD Kern County with donations and other assistance. They include:

MEDIA COVERAGE

Several local media agencies have partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to raise awareness of the problems in Kern County, and support the Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K. Stay tuned to this section for coverage of the event.

Cool safety tips for a successful summer road trip

June 24, 2015 | 10:32 am


Summer officially kicked off June 21, which means it’s time to enjoy sunshine and vacations. Summer is one of the highest travel periods in the United States, and it can also be one of the most dangerous times on our roadways.

Before heading out on the highway, it’s important to plan ahead and take all safety measures into account. Prevention and planning may take a little time, but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown, or worse, a highway crash.

Read the summer travel safety tips below, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For a full list of summer travel safety tips, download a comprehensive PDF by clicking here.

Before You Go

Regular maintenance of your vehicle goes a long way toward preventing breakdowns. Schedule a preventive maintenance checkup before hitting the road. Also, check for recalls on your vehicle by looking it up on this website — you’ll need your car’s VIN number.

Here are some quick and easy safety checks you can do before a road trip:

  • Change the oil
  • Check the brakes, battery and belts
  • Replace the windshield wipers
  • Checking your cooling system and levels, as well as other fluid levels (brake, transmission and power steering)
  • Assess tire tread and pressure
  • Check the spare tire for proper pressure
  • Make sure headlights, brake lights, turn signals, interior lights and emergency flashers are in working order.
  • Subscribe to a roadside assistance program

Protect Children

Make sure car and booster seats are properly installed. All children 13 and younger should ride in the back seat. And all passengers in your vehicle should be buckled up.

Visit this website for child safety recommendation, including how to select the right car seat for your child.

  • Buckle up: All passengers must wear their seat belts
  • Summer heat: One of the biggest dangers related to vehicle in the summertime is heatstroke. Never leave children alone in the car. Vehicles heat up quickly and can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes.
  • Lock up: Lock your vehicle’s doors at all times when it’s not in use. Put the keys somewhere that children can’t get access to them.
  • Stay alert: Long trips can be difficult for children, drivers and other passengers. Plan time to stop along the trip. Change drivers if they’re feeling tired or drowsy.

On the Road

A driver’s responsibilities include keeping eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and focusing only driving. Plus, it’s important to share the road with motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, who all have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every motorist.

  • Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians: Keep your eyes open for distracted pedestrians. Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it’s not marked.
  • Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.

Avoid Bad Driving Behavior

  • Avoid distracted driving: The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
  • Impaired driving: Every 52 minutes (or 28 times a day), someone in the United States dies in an alcohol impaired-driving crash, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Crashes caused by impaired driving are preventable. Simply, never drive after you have a drink or use drugs.

Emergency Roadside Kit

Put together an emergency roadside kit to take with you. Suggested emergency roadside kit contents include:

  • Cell phone and car charger
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack for changing a tire
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes
  • Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak!)
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Maps
  • Emergency blankets, towels and coats

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If you or someone you know is in a car accident due to the fault of another, contact the Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling 661-323-4000, or visiting the website chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director earns statewide honor for MADD volunteer work

June 9, 2015 | 6:00 am


Jorge Barrientos, director of marketing and public relations for the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, was awarded California’s Volunteer of the Year award on May 30 by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, California, at the “Celebrating California’s Heroes” law enforcement and community recognition event in Sacramento.

Barrientos helped lead marketing, public relations and marketing efforts for MADD’s signature event in Bakersfield, “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K.” In part because of Barrientos and the rest of the planning committee, the inaugural event in September last year raised nearly $50,000 to help local innocent victims and families of drunk driving crashes, and brought together more than 700 local residents to bring awareness of the DUI epidemic in Kern County.

With the help of local media, Barrientos was able to share the stories of MADD and the effects of drinking and driving locally – including sharing victim stories – to a wide audience in Kern County. He wrote articles on the subject for local publications and organized appearances on local news segments for local MADD representatives, sponsors, and planning committee members, appearing himself on several segments.

The “Celebrating California’s Heroes” dinner and awards – hosted by MADD California, California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association – was held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

You can view Barrientos’ complete profile in the awards program here.

MADD & Chain | Cohn | Stiles

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has worked closely with Mothers Against Drunk Driving for several years. Last year, the law firm played a vital part in planning and organizing the first-ever Bakersfield “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K.”

The event — on Sept. 20, 2015 at Park at River Walk — brought together more than 700 people and raised nearly $50,000 to fight drunken driving in Kern County. The event was also aimed to raise awareness of drinking and driving crashes in Kern County, to raise money to support local victims and their families, and to fight to end drinking and driving in Bakersfield. Other Kern County community business and organizations stepped up as sponsors for the event.

This year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is once again sponsoring the event, the second “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K,” which will be held Sept. 19, at Park at River Walk. Other sponsors include Chevron, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, FedEx, Steps, Kern County Prosecutors Association and Brown’s Backhoe Service, Inc. Media sponsors include KGET-17, KBAK-29, KBFX-58, KERO-23 and Bakersfield Life Magazine.

For more information on the MADD walk and run, and to see how you can help fight against drinking and driving, visit the website www.walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

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Click on the article below to see a mention of the award in The Bakersfield Californian:

People in Business: Jorge Barrientos

How to ring in the New Year safely, without drinking and driving

December 30, 2014 | 9:04 am


Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that drunk driving fatalities in the United States last year topped 10,000 for yet another year – 10,076 in fact. Sadly, the risk of sharing the road with a drunk driver is even higher on holidays, especially around New Year’s.

In fact, New Year’s Day is the most dangerous day of the year for drunk driving on our nation’s roadways, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. On New Year’s Day in 2012 – after the ball dropped at midnight – 70 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in the United States, which represented more than half of all traffic fatalities that day.

The Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles would like to remind Kern County drivers to make this New Year’s, and every other day of the year, safe for traveling.

“This is a time of year when, unfortunately, we see too many people out there driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Matt Clark, car accident lawyer and partner at Chain | Cohn | Stiles, during an interview on The Groove 99.3 with Sheri Ortiz. “There are a lot of holiday parties. People go out. I don’t want to discourage people from going out and having a good time, and enjoying the holidays, but there’s a way to do that responsibly.”

Clark continued: “In my line of work, unfortunately, we see the worst of it often times — where there’s been a DUI accident and someone is injured. Too often somebody is killed. And then I have to console their families after they’ve lost a loved one. I just don’t want to see that happen during this holiday.”

You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.

To make sure you have a safe and fun New Year’s celebration for everyone, use these tips (courtesy of MADD):

Going out?

  • Designate a non-drinking driver to make sure you, and everyone with you, arrive home safely.
  • Save the number of a cab service in your phone before heading out, consider hiring a shuttle or limousine service to transport you and your friends to and from your event, or arrange a hotel stay for you and your friends on the evening of the event so no one drives home impaired. Ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber is partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving this New Year’s Eve.
  • Don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

Planning a party?

  • As guests RSVP, confirm that at least one person in each group is prepared to be the sober designated driver or has a plan to get home.
  • Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.
  • Have the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride. Also, be ready with some clean linen so you can turn your sofa into a bed for guests who need to sleep it off.
  • If someone who’s impaired is trying to drive, stop them.

“There are so many ways you can go out and have a good time without putting yourself, or other people on the road, at risk,” Clark said on the radio show.

DUI crashes with injury have dramatically increased in Kern County, according to local news reports. The latest state DUI Management Report released last year shows that 4,633 DUI arrests were made county-wide.

It’s the reason Clark and other personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have been deeply involved in sponsoring and organizing the Bakersfield “Walk/Run Like MADD,” hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County. The second annual event will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, at The Park at River Walk.

The 5K is aimed at raising awareness about the DUI epidemic in Kern County, and to raise money to help victims of drunk driving, among other things. Last year’s walk and run raised $46,000 and brought together 700 people including DUI crash victims and families of victims.

If you are interested in taking part or sponsoring the upcoming MADD walk/run in Bakersfield, call 661-334-4948 or email jbarrientos@chainlaw.com. You can also visit the local event website at www.walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

Celebrate the holidays without drinking and driving

December 9, 2014 | 9:28 am


The holidays, traveling and parties go hand in hand. But it’s important not to mix the three, unless you have a sober driver.

If you‘re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, along with Kern County law enforcement, reminds you to drive sober, or get pulled over.

Due to the increase locally in drunken driving-related crashes and fatalities, the Bakersfield Police Department will be out in full force from Dec. 12 to Jan. 5 actively searching for impaired drivers. The DUI task force also plans to place two DUI-driver‘s license checkpoints and eight local roving DUI Saturation Patrols, the department reported.

California Highway Patrol, too, will be out in full force. The Bakersfield-area CHP will deploy officers on enhanced enforcement on State Routes 43, 46, 58, 65, 99, 119, 155, 178, 184, 204 and 223, and jurisdictional unincorporated roadways in Kern County, the agency reported.

During the holiday season in 2012, 40 percent of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During that same holiday period, 37 percent of the 21 to 24-year old drivers in fatal crashes were impaired. Almost one out of six drivers under the age of 21 in those fatal crashes was also drunk, even though they were too young to legally buy or consume alcohol.

Besides causing injury and harm to others on the harm, the consequences of drinking and driving include jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses totaling $10,000 on average, not to mention humiliation drivers face among your family, friends and workplace.

The best way to avoid drinking and driving is to remain sober. But if you will celebrate with a few drinks, here are a few things you can do to stay safe:

  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member.
  • Use public transportation or call a taxi, Uber or Lyft.
  • And if you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1. You could save a life.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County, also reminds motorists that the most dangerous days of the year on our nation’s roadways are between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This season, MADD is asking drivers to Tie One On For Safety.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is deeply involved with the Kern County chapter of MADD, sponsoring and organizing the second “Walk/Run Like MADD” 5K in Bakersfield on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Park at River Walk. The event is aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and to raise funds for victims of DUI crashes. Learn more about the “Walk Like MADD” event by clicking here.

If you are involved in a car accident this holiday season due to the fault of a DUI-driver or another motorist, call the car accident lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000. You can also visit our specialized Car Accident website by clicking here for more information.

Nearly 700 participate, $46K raised in Chain | Cohn | Stiles-sponsored MADD walk (with photo gallery)

September 22, 2014 | 10:24 am


More than 700 people participated in the first-ever Bakersfield “Walk/Run Like MADD” — sponsored by Chain | Cohn | Stiles — which was held Saturday morning at the Park at River Walk.

More than $46,000 was raised to fight drunken driving in Kern County, making this inaugural 5K run and walk a huge success.

The event aimed to raise awareness of drinking and driving crashes in Kern County, to raise money to support local victims and their families, and to fight to end drinking and driving in Bakersfield.

The day featured informational booths from sponsors and other groups aiming to inform about the dangers of drinking and driving, MADD representatives who spoke about the importance of coming together to fight against drunk driving, California Highway Patrol’s Robert Rodriguez who sang the national anthem, a prayer by the Health family (victims of a drunken driving crash), announcement by Peter Wonderly, and a speech by Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green. The walk featured families of victims marching with signs and photos of their loved ones, and hundreds also participated in the competitive 5K race.

Kern County community business and organizations stepped up as sponsors for the event. They included Dignity Health, Chain | Cohn | Stiles, Bakersfield Police Officers Association, Kern County Prosecutors Association, Ira Cohen of UBS Financial, Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center, Kern County Bar Association and Aum Physical Therapy. To see a sponsor list, which were featured on the event T-shirts, go here.

Others contributed to the event in various ways. They included:

  • Sam’s Club, which donated water bottles.
  • The Gehlawat family, which made several monetary donations.
  • Media friends — KGET, KERO, KBAK, KBFX, El Popular and The Bakersfield Californian — who all helped raise awareness.
  • Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, which came out to support victims.
  • Sully’s Chevron, which donated ice for the event.
  • Sole 2 Soul, which hosted the pre-registration packet pickup on Friday, Sept. 19.

Local media helped spread awareness Saturday by interviewing victims, families and participants. Here is some of the media coverage from the event:

The “Walk/Run Like MADD” planning committee — which included Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Matt Clark and marketing director Jorge Barrientos — would like to thank sponsors, those who donated, volunteers and participants in the event for their dedication to fighting against drunken driving.

Sign up now for the Bakersfield’s first ‘Walk/Run Like MADD’ this weekend

September 12, 2014 | 8:54 am


The first-ever Bakersfield Walk/Run Like MADD will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Park at River Walk — and there’s still time to join the fight to end drunk driving in Kern County.

The walk and competitive 5K — sponsored and organized in part by the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles — is aimed to raise awareness of drinking and driving crashes in Kern County, to raise money to support local victims and their families, and to fight to end drinking and driving in Bakersfield.

As of today, nearly 500 people on 44 teams have raised more than $37,000 for the Bakersfield MADD walk. Additionally, several Kern County community business and organizations have stepped up as sponsors for the event. They include Dignity Health, Chain | Cohn | Stiles, Bakersfield Police Officers Association, Kern County Prosecutors Association, Ira Cohn of USB Financial, Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center, Kern County Bar Association and Aum Physical Therapy. To see a sponsor list, which will be featured on the event T-shirts, go here.

Among the latest participants in the MADD walk are family members and friends of victims of a drunken driving crash that occurred just recently. Two people were killed in a fiery crash during Labor Day weekend when a suspected drunken driver slammed into the back of their car on Rosedale Highway, according to media reports. A third person was pulled from the burning car by California Highway Patrol officials and a passersby near the scene of the crash. That person suffered serious burn injuries and was taken to a hospital. The suspected drunken driver, 29-year-old Dontrell Collins, was booked on suspicion of felony drunken driving resulting in injury or death and vehicular manslaughter, police reported.

Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, where the victims worked, will participate in the MADD walk and has started a team, which currently has 80 people involved. And FedEx, where the father of a victim works, has also started a team.

You can still join these victims and others in Bakersfield fighting to end drunk driving by registering on the day of the event, Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Park at River.

You can also register during a pre-registration packet pickup from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, at Sole 2 Soul Sports in The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave. Packets include race bibs and T-shirt for those who pre-registered.

Media Coverage

The first Bakersfield Walk Like MADD has gotten substantial attention from local media, who are also joining in on the fight to end drunk driving by sharing the stories with Kern County. Here are several of the media spots:

Law enforcement, local groups in full force this Fourth of July to prevent drunk driving

July 2, 2014 | 9:54 am


UPDATE: CCS Marketing Director and MADD Kern County board member Jorge Barrientos spoke with KERO-23 (ABC) News about driving sober and safe on the Fourth of July weekend. Watch the segment here.

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Fireworks, friends, flag-waving, food and family — those are usually the ingredients for a successful Fourth of July.

Many times, Independence Day festivities also include alcohol. The Bakersfield Police Department, MADD Kern County, and the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles are reminding Kern County residents to celebrate safely this year and always.

As Bakersfield Police states, the holidays can quickly turn from festive to fatal when people choose to drink and drive. In fact, during the Fourth of July holiday period in 2012, 78 people in the United States were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

To crack down on drunk driving locally, Bakersfield law enforcement will be having its Avoid the 18 DUI Task Force in full force. MADD Kern County, too, is sharing some tips and statistics to celebrate the Fourth safely. And the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles also share some safety tips.

AVOID the 18

The Avoid the 18 DUI Task Force aggressively targets those who put lives in danger. That means every Kern County law enforcement agency is ramping enforcement this Fourth of July, according to Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson.

In short, those who drink and drive will be targeted for arrest in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which means zero tolerance for drunk driving.

The Task Force will also be deploying officers to DUI saturation patrols. The California Highway Patrol, for example, will be deploying all available officers onto freeways and county roads for its “Maximum Enforcement Period.”

The reason is because more than 10,000 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States in 2012, representing a third of all crash fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Fourth of July holiday period is especially deadly — there were 179 people killed in crashes in 2012, and 44 percent of those crashes were alcohol-related.

In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent. According to FBI statistics, more than 1.28 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2012. Data also shows that 46 percent of young drivers, ages 18 to 34, were drunk while driving in fatal crashes over the July 4th period in 2012.

Motorcycle drivers represented the highest percentage of alcohol impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2012, 27 percent of the motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher.

Aside from putting your life and the lives of others at risk by drinking and driving, Kern County police remind, driving impaired can also lead to other serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses — the average DUI costs about $10,000.

Local law enforcement recommends these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you‘re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • Use Designated Driver of Bakersfield as a sober ride program.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don‘t hesitate to Call 9-1-1.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

MADD on Fourth of July

In anticipation of the Fourth of July holiday weekend — one of the deadliest holidays for drunk driving crashes — Uber Technologies and Mothers Against Drunk Driving launched #UberMADD, a national partnership designed to prevent drunk driving.

Uber, which connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services, recently launched in Bakersfield, and so has its competitor Lyft. To kick off the #UberMADD campaign, Uber will donate $1 to MADD for every ride taken and $10 for every new rider in the United States between 6 a.m. on July 4 and 6 a.m. on July 5, when riders use the promotion code “UberMADD.”

MADD also urges adults to plan ahead for a non-drinking designated driver if Fourth of July plans include alcohol.

In addition to the dangers posed by drunk driving on roadways, the U.S. Coast Guard reports that alcohol was the leading factor in boating fatalities last year, contributing to 16 percent of boating deaths. Whether you’re in a car or on a boat, the dangers of drinking and driving are the same, MADD shared.

“Have a plan, designate a driver and pay attention out there,” said Carla Pearson, program coordinator and victim advocate for MADD Kern County. “It’s also important for sober drivers to pay attention to their surroundings, too. Look out for each other. We don’t need any more lives lost.”

As a reminder, MADD Kern County and Chain | Cohn | Stiles are partnering with local law enforcement and other groups in the first-ever “Walk-Run Like MADD” 5K walk and competitive run. It’s aimed to raise awareness in our own community, raise funds to stop drunken driving and underage drinking locally, and provide support to victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes.

For more information on the event, which will be held Sept. 20, read a previous blog post here, or visit the main event webpage here.

Fireworks Safety

Like driving, alcohol and fireworks also do not go together. Bakersfield safety officials here warn that if fireworks are not set off properly, the results could be devastating.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles, with the help of Bakersfield Fire Department and Kern County Fire Department, has compiled several safety tips and advice for you and your pets this Independence Day.

Read them here.

And for media coverage regarding fireworks safety, read this article in The Bakersfield Californian.