News Release


DATE: November 15, 2000

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108


Board of Supervisors Meet With Mexican Officials To Face Down a Longstanding Danger

SAN DIEGO - Refusing to stand idly by as many underage San Diego youth attempt to drive home after a night of drinking in Mexico, Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Supervisor Greg Cox took a stand this morning to raise public awareness and to continue cross border relations at the third annual Cross Border Forum on Underage Drinking in Mexico. Mexican officials sat side-by-side with the Supervisors, demonstrating a continued binational effort to end drinking and driving on the border.

We will not tolerate this deadly party parade across our border any longer, said Supervisor Greg Cox. We will continue to educate and collaborate until young people understand that drinking and driving is a crime and a danger regardless of whether one drinks in the U.S. or Mexico. I am thrilled that we have received such support from Mexico in our effort to bring the message home.

We must continue to work together to educate our youth, parents, schools and businesses that underage drinking is not a"rite of passage" but a very risky game that all too often ends in the death of family and friends, said Chairwoman Jacob.

The recent death of CHP officer Sean Nava at the hands of a drunk underage driver returning to the U.S. after a night in Tijuana highlights the need for a comprehensive community strategy to address the problem. Since 1998, the County of San Diego has worked in partnership with law enforcement, community organizations, business leaders and officials from both sides of the border in an ongoing effort to eliminate the practice of underage kids driving drunk after returning home from a night of drinking in Tijuana. There are programs designed to get drunks off the road after crossing into the U.S., Operation Safe Crossing and Operation Stop-N-Bust have resulted in a significant reduction of this destructive behavior.

Studies by the Institute for Public Strategies, a non-profit agency that focuses on alcohol and drug prevention, show that between 5,000 and 8,000 people cross the border every weekend night and approximately 1,400 return with an alcohol level above the legal drinking limit. Nearly 500 of them will drive home drunk