California Avoid

California Avoid

California Avoid is a program founded in 1973 to bring cooperation among law enforcement agencies that have a mandate of cracking down drivers who drink and drive. They aimed at reducing the number of injuries, deaths and property damage resulting from DUI-related motor vehicle accidents. This is still their mandate and aim even today.

Who funds this program?

The program is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety. These funds are first submitted to the California State Transportation Agency before they are allocated to this program. The main functions of these funds is to pay California law enforcement officers who work overtime, conduct public awareness on DUI and to pay officers who are reassigned to carry out these campaigns.

California Avoid awareness campaign

The overall goal of California’s Avoid awareness campaign is to help drivers understand countywide enforcement periods and advice them that the only way to stay out of the trouble is to stay sober when driving. Increased DUI enforcement often taken place during the National Anti-DUI campaigns which occur from Mid August to the weekend of Labor Day, 15th December to January 1st and during high traffic holiday periods such as Independence Day and on Memorial Day. Also, Avoid law enforcement officers are deployed on nights associated with high drinking spree such as on Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, Cinco De Mayo and St Patrick’s Day.

Counties Participation History

Santa Clara was the first county to participate in the California Avoid Anti-DUI Campaign in 1974. Since then, 41 counties in California have joined hands in the program. In total, the program has brought together over 540 law enforcement agencies from these 41 counties to crack down drunk drivers on the streets and highways.

In 2003, nine counties from Bay Area joined hands to become California’s first regional Void Program. This block comprises of 125 law enforcement agencies. There are also other Regional Avoid programs in California such as the North State Regional Avoid with five counties and up to 30 law enforcement agencies, Sacramento Valley Regional Avoid comprising of nine counties and up to 70 law enforcement agencies and the South Central Valley Regional Avoid comprising of six counties and up to 60 law enforcement agencies.

California Avoid has seen positive results

California Avoid Anti-DUI Campaigns have brought positive results since their inception in 1973. For instance, in 2008-2009 Avoid Campaign periods the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in California allocated $6.5 Million to fund various Avoid Anti-DUI Campaigns countywide. These funds were used to fund officers’ overtime, arrest drunken drivers and to advise them to stay sober while driving to avoid troubles. The state saw a declined of DUI deaths by 6.7%. Various law enforcement agencies doubled their commitments and efforts that led to the reduction of cases of DUIs.

The program’s resources

Various law enforcement agencies participating in California Void program get access to every resource available. They also incorporate a broad range of operations such as the Multi Agency DUI Task Force Operations, Local Saturation Patrols, Sobriety/Driver License Checkpoints and Warrant/Probation Sweeps and Court Stings.

Special DUI Enforcement Periods

The California AVOID Program incorporates combined efforts of various DUI law enforcement agencies to raise awareness of the increasing cases associated with drinking and driving. They focus their efforts during the nationwide holiday periods as recorded below:

• Memorial Day Weekend (May 24 -27)

• Winter Holiday (From Mid December to New Year)

• Summer Mobilization (Mid August to the start of September)

• 4th of July Holiday (Usually at the start of every July)

• Special nights associated with high drinking such as on Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, Cinco De Mayo and St Patrick’s Day.

• Thanksgiving Eve (November 21)

California’s Avoid Sobriety checkpoints

California’s Avoid law enforcement task forces have been constituted and expanded to include the California Highway Patrol (CHP), over 450 local police Sheriff’s departments and dozens of other special police districts. So the program has Sobriety checkpoints in almost every part of the state.

Reporting a drunk driver

The program encourages the public to report any driver who is spotted driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The public can report to the department by dialing 911. Immediately the officers will ask for the vehicle description, direction of travel, exact location of the vehicle and the license plate numbers. The information will then be laid on the Avoid information on the field.

Joining the AVOID Program

California Avoid Anti-DUI Program is open to all countries. The California Office of Traffic Safety invites any interested county to participate in this program to help reduce deaths, injuries and property damage as a result of DUI related collisions. For more information about California Avoid Anti-DUI Program, contact the contact the California Office of Traffic Safety.

DUI Insurance

First DUI offenders are likely to face a driver’s license suspension, pay a fine, serve probation or attend a mandatory DUI education course. Some states may also impound a vehicle, force offenders to install ignition interlock device on their vehicles or perform community work. For serious or repeated DUI offenses, offenders can serve a short jail sentence.

In fact, DUI penalties vary depending on the state the offense was committed and number of occurrences. Drivers, therefore, need to apply for DUI insurance to offer them protection in case they are involved in DUI related collisions.

With DUI insurance, drivers enjoy all features and benefits they expect. For example, if a driver with DUI insurance is involved in an accident resulting from drinking and driving, the insurer will pick up the damaged vehicle and tow it to the repair shop. The insurance can also cover some of the costs related to injuries and property damage.

Some DUI insurance coverage offers a lifetime guarantee on all collision repairs and provides on time claims reporting. They also pay claims within few days of accident reporting.

Total costs of a DUI offense?

Financial costs of a DUI offense include:

• Fines

• Prison fees

• Legal fees

• DWI assessment fees

• DUI school fees

• Court fees

• Restricted license fees

Apart from financial costs, DUI offenses can lead to:

• Jail time

• Community service

• Driver’s license restrictions or suspensions

• Lost employment

• Installation of an ignition interlock

Drivers are therefore advised to avoid getting behind the wheel if they are drunk or under the influence of drugs.

How DUI affect auto insurance?

In most cases, auto insurance companies cancel insurance policies for first-time DUI offenders. They regard DUI offenders a risk to their business. However, some states require auto insurers to wait for the expiry of the coverage term for any driver who has committed a DUI offense for the first time.

Those insurance companies that are willing to provide coverage policy to risk drivers always charge them higher rates. First time DUI drivers who have completed Safe Driving and Substance Abuse Therapy programs can be charged normal insurance rates because they have learned to be safer drivers.

Some states require first-time DUI offenders to file an SR-22 form (Certificate of Financial Responsibility Form) to show that they have obtained the required amount of auto insurance.

What is an SR-22

An SR-22 is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form required by all first time DUI offenders. This form is forwarded by auto insurance companies to verify that first time DUI offenders have obtained auto insurance liability coverage. Depending on the state of filling, Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form is referred to an SR-22 or an FR-44.

Who needs an SR-22

SR-22 is a requirement for only those who have committed a DUI offense, but not everyone. Each state has its own regulation pertaining the filling of this form. It is usually a requirement by state or a direction by the court for drivers who have violated certain driving-related regulations such as:

• DUI convictions

• Accidents caused by uninsured drivers

• Reckless driving

Drivers who need to file an SR-22 Form are notified by their State’s Motor Vehicle Department.

How to obtain an SR-22

• Drivers who have committed a DUI related offense will receive a notification from their State’s Motor Vehicle Department

• Immediately after receiving a notification, they need to contact their auto insurance to obtain SR-22 form

• Their auto insurance company will give them a Certificate of Financial Responsibility or Form SR-22 to fill

• After filling the form, auto insurance companies will process the form on behalf of the applicants

• If additional information is required, applicants will be required to submit additional documentation to complete the request

DUI offenders may also obtain the form by Phone. Here, they need to speak to one of their auto insurance counselors to know what is required to when filling the form. Insurance counselors will provide the required information to fill the form and help process the certificate with the state authorities on behalf of the requester.

Fee associated with an SR-22

• In most cases, filling fee is determined by the state, usually around $25 or higher

• The fee is charged when filing SR-22 but will also be charged at each renewal. Drivers who allow their policies to lapse need to pay more fees when filing the form

• Each individual SR-22 form attracts a separate fee. For instance, if both spouses both need to file form SR-22, the fee will be charged twice.

Note: Because the fee is charged by each state, it is not included in the quote provided by an auto insurance company.

How long is the SR-22 valid?

Form SR-22 remains valid as long as an insurance policy is active. If one’s insurance policy is canceled while he or she is required to carry an SR-22, the auto insurance company will notify the relevant state authorities. Failure to maintain the required insurance policy and Form SR-22 may cause one to lose his or her driving privileges.

Obtaining an SR22 in California

Some drivers in California may be required to file the Certificate of Financial Responsibility Form commonly known to us as the California Insurance Proof Certificate. The form is filled by an auto insurance company with the Department of Motor Vehicles on behalf of the driver. The insurer then gives the applicant and the DMV a copy each and keeps a copy for themselves. DMV then keeps a record of this form on their database, but drivers are also required to keep a copy of this form n their vehicles.

When to file form SR22 in California

Not every driver in California is required to file an SR22 form. Only those who have involved in incidents that led to the suspension of their driver’s licenses are required to file the California SR22 insurance form. Below are examples of incidents that can lead to the filing of an SR22 form in California:

• Driver’s license suspensions as a result of reckless driving, over speeding or driving without insurance

• Convictions for DUI

• Unsatisfied judgment suspensions

• Failure to pay child support

• Failure to pay parking tickets

• Other vehicle violations

If a driver is ready to reinstate his or her California’s driver’s license after suspension, they must file a California SR22 insurance form. They will be required to carry this form for three to ten years following a conviction. The duration of carrying this form varies depending on the type of conviction a driver faces. Failure to obtain and maintain this form will result in immediate suspension of the driver’s license. This can be done by paying the insurance premiums to an auto insurance company.


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