GOLETA, Calif. - One of the largest group of first responders in one location, outside of an emergency, gathered at the California Highway Patrol office in Goleta to urge the public to avoid holiday traffic tragedies.
CHP Commander Cindy Pontes wasted no time in getting her message out that " if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages or use cannabis products, driving is not an option."
Pontes said drivers need to return to the basics and stay focused on safety for themselves, others and operate their vehicle so it is not damaged.
She said, "buckle up, slow down, designate a sober driver and don't use the cell phone while driving."
Having a plan early on will help you when you most need it. Trying to decide whether you can or can't drive after drinking for an evening was said to be risky. "It could very well be that your impairment is hindering your assessment," said Wendy Motta with Congressman Salud Carbajal's office.
Recently two pedestrians who were in traffic lanes on the freeway and on a surface street in the Santa Barbara area were hit and killed. The CHP urged the public to stay out of traffic lanes. Pontes said, "you are going to lose every time against a car."
New technology in cars can help drivers but Pontes suggests you look at a map too. "Have a vision of that map in your mind so you aren't swerving from the left lane to the right lane," she said.
The gathering involved multiple agencies. They included the CHP (Buellton and Santa Barbara offices) , Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, Santa Barbara County Fire, Santa Barbara City Fire, UC Police, State Parks, and Cottage Hospital staff. They were supported by local legislators and their staff.