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Coachella Music And Arts Festival Will Draw Large Crowds Driving Around Southern California

The Auto Club Reminds Drivers To Stay Vigilant And Sober On The Roads


As Southern Californians once again prepare to hit the roads and head to the Coachella Valley for the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival, the Auto Club of Southern California reminds festival goers and drivers to remain vigilant and sober.

People who use both alcohol and marijuana are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road – they are significantly more likely to speed, text, intentionally run red lights, and drive aggressively than those who don’t, according to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Marijuana use behind the wheel is growing nationwide. From 2007 to 2014, the number of nighttime weekend drivers in the U.S. with marijuana in their system rose nearly 50 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to a survey conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one in eight U.S. adults admits to having driven under the influence of marijuana.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports in 2023, 682 people lost their lives in a DUI-related crash. As of March 2024, 16 people have already lost their lives due to a DUI-related crash. The Auto Club estimates the cost of a first-time DUI offense at approximately $22,600, which includes insurance hikes, attorney and legal fees, restricted licensing, days off work to go to court, a criminal record, and more. 

For drivers, The Auto Club recommends these safety tips:

  • Obey speed limits. Drivers tend to overestimate the time saved by speeding. Moving at 80 mph instead of 75 mph would require traveling 100 miles to save roughly 5 minutes. Speed kills and isn’t worth the cost. AAA Foundation research shows that small speed increases are enough to raise a driver’s risk of severe injury or death.
  • Only drive sober. If you consume marijuana or alcohol or use potentially impairing prescription medications, then don’t drive. And if you’re going to drive, don’t consume these substances.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb.
  • Expect traffic. Traffic congestion is likely near the Coachella Valley this weekend and later this month during the Stagecoach Festival. Plan ahead for extra time to reach your destination and ask a passenger to help with rerouting if needed.
  • Buckle up. Properly wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. It can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by up to 50 percent.
  • Stay cool. The Auto Club encourages drivers to keep their heads down and focus on reaching their destinations safely. If they encounter a dangerous driver, maintain space around their vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed. 


Media Contacts

Gianella Ghiglino
Public Affairs Specialist English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(818) 939-9851

Anlleyn Venegas
Public Affairs Specialist. English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(619) 565-4556

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.