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Holiday Planning – Let’s Keep Our Roadways Safe

Posted on 12 November 2022 by Monica Zech

Holiday Planning – Keep SAFETY at the TOP of your list!

Whether you are attending a party or giving the party, please plan ahead for a SOBER Designated Driver if plans include consuming alcoholic beverages.

My work is to continue to remind or inform everyone of the real consequences when driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs:

Going to a Party – make your reservations now for an UBER, LYFT, cab, or sober friend, to increase your chances of getting home safely.

Having a Party – If you are serving alcohol, take the car keys from drinking guests. First, track how much they’ve been drinking. Then, have a place for them to stay the night or plan for a sober designated driver to take them home. Have a variety of NON-Alcoholic beverages available for guests. Mock cocktails, non-alcoholic punch, smoothies, soda, and water. Remember, coffee does not sober up a person; only time will.

Easy planning will help to prevent a tragedy, such as an injury or death! It could mean the loss of your current or future job. (A DUI can stay on your DMV record for ten years) Higher insurance rates. DUI fines can range from $5,000 up to $21,000 or more. But the cost of a life is PRICELESS! It could be your life, the lives of your family or friends riding with you, or those you hit. I know the devastation of losing a loved one; a DUI driver killed my father.

Something you may not be aware of – If you cause a collision while DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and kill someone’s parent – part of your sentence may include providing support for the care of that person’s family.

Please, together, we can help make our roadways safer, not only during the holidays – but year-round.

Happy & Safe Holidays!

Monica Zech

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Social Host laws in the County of San Diego

Posted on 17 October 2022 by Monica Zech

Social Host Ordinances

social host reporting info
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department aims to provide you with the highest quality of public safety service. Part of this mission is keeping your children safe. We are committed to preventing underage drinking/marijuana use and saving lives. We want to raise awareness of this critical issue by providing information on this page about the risks of underage drinking/marijuana use and Social Host laws in the County of San Diego.

State law prohibits minors under the age of 21 from purchasing, possessing, or consuming marijuana. Adult use between the ages of 18 and 21 is only allowed with a medicinal marijuana card, yet according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

  • Many teens believe that marijuana is safer than alcohol or other drugs
  • Regular use of marijuana can lead to significant problems, including Cannabis Use Disorder and withdrawal can interfere with other activities
  • Pictures below of parties providing alcohol to minors:

police breaking up a partybeer pongkegsalcohol on counter

Short-term use of marijuana can lead to:

  • School difficulties
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Increased aggression
  • Car accidents
  • Use of other drugs or alcohol
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Worsening of underlying mental health conditions, including mood changes and suicidal thinking
  • Increased risk of psychosis
  • Interference with prescribed medication

State law prohibits minors under age 21 from purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol, yet a report from the American Medical Association finds:

  • 2 out of 3 teens said it was easy to get alcohol
  • 1 in 3 said it was easy to get alcohol from their own consenting parents
  • 2 out of 5 said it was easy to get alcohol from a friend’s parents
  • 1 in 4 said they’d attended a party where youth under 21 were drinking in front of parents

A study from the American Medical Association also shows underage drinking is a factor in nearly half of all teen car crashes, which is the leading cause of death among teenagers. Well-meaning parents often host drinking parties on behalf of their children, but these gatherings can quickly spiral out of control. Hosting at home doesn’t change the facts or lessen the dangers of:

  • social host graphic
  • Alcohol poisonings
  • Brain damage
  • Chronic alcohol addiction
  • Car crashes
  • Property damage
  • Community disturbance
  • Risky sexual behavior and sexual assault
  • Fighting
  • Accidental injuries due to falls or poor judgment

Social Host brochure

A “Social Host” is anyone who knowingly hosts parties where minors are provided alcohol or marijuana on property that adults own, lease, or otherwise controls. A Social Host ordinance assigns responsibility to those who knew or should have known minors were consuming alcohol or marijuana on their property.

Anyone hosting a party is required to:

  • Verify the age of guests
  • Control access to alcohol or marijuana for those under 21
  • Supervise minors

Anyone allowing minors (under 21) to drink alcohol or ingest marijuana in any form will be held accountable and may be:

  • Cited/arrested
  • Fined up to $1,000 or more
  • Serve up to six months in jail
  • Billed for law enforcement services

Social Host Ordinance Documents

Start Smart

Report Social Host Violations

Report Social Host violations to:

  • Sheriff’s Department: 858-565-5200
  • Students Speaking Out Hotline: 888-580-8477


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Fentanyl Poisoning – It’s Killing Kids/Teens

Posted on 15 October 2022 by Monica Zech

The Critical Risks of Fentanyl Poisoning – It’s Killing Kids/Teens

There’s a growing crisis across the country, and most parents are still unaware of the dangers to their kids.

Fentanyl poisoning is killing kids — in every neighborhood and school.

There are too many stories in the news featuring young people killed by fentanyl poisoning. But, unfortunately, it’s not just happening to kids you think are ‘bad’ or ‘troubled.’ It’s happening in middle schools across America.

The Risks of Fentanyl Poisoning To Teens –

The following link relates to the Fentanyl issue in a news story that occurred Friday evening, November 4, 2022. The responding officers had been trained to use NARCAN; without it, the two teens would have died.

CDC – Centers for Disease Control

DEA Warns of Brightly-Colored Fentanyl Used to Target Young Americans

DEA Warns of Brightly-Colored Fentanyl Used to Target Young Americans

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Photo Library – Through the Years

Posted on 30 November 2021 by Monica Zech

Photo Library – Through The Years

I am sharing some fun photos and special honors during my career. I feel so blessed and grateful for the many opportunities I’ve been given in my career!

(1984-2001) – I’m proud to have been San Diego’s 1st female Air Traffic Reporter and San Diego’s first Television Air Traffic Reporter. I worked for the Automobile Club of Southern California, contracting with local radio and television stations.





My first Public Relations picture was as an air traffic reporter for the Automobile Club of Southern California.







Climbing into our Bell Jet Ranger traffic helicopter at Montgomery field.







I felt so blessed to have such a fantastic job flying over San Diego – my office in the sky!











From my first year as an air traffic reporter with my pilot Captain Dennis Hottenstien.


In 1985, I co-hosted a United Way event with baseball great Steve Garvey at the Old Globe Theater – that was a fun evening!








Below, I had the honor of meeting former San Diego Charger Coach Don Coryell. I was so excited to meet him, but I was stunned when he said he was excited to meet me and tell his wife he had met me. He coached the Chargers from 1978 to 1986. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2010 at the age of 85.










In 2016 I was very honored to be given the first honorary Associate of Arts degree by Grossmont College. It was Grossmont’s first honorary degree ever given at the College. Thank you for this incredible honor!










In 2010, I was invited by the PTA of a Private High School in Miami, Florida, to deliver one of my safe driving talks to their students; they especially wanted me to target the dangers of “texting” behind the wheel. They had this wonderful banner made to promote my presentation at the school. I first spoke to the students at a noon assembly and was scheduled to talk to their parents later that evening. I was forewarned not to expect very many parents to attend. But, to their surprise, it was “standing room only!” Apparently, students insisted that their parents come to see my presentation, and many of them returned to see it again. It was a very successful trip!










In 2001, I was honored to be the El Cajon Fire Department’s first Public Information Officer (PIO) and safety educator. In 2005, I became the City’s first PIO.











Following 9/11, it was such an honor to meet several New York City firefighters who came to provide fire training classes at the fire training facility in El Cajon. In the picture is my daughter Victoria and a New York City Firefighter.









In 1994, I was honored to be the first female emcee of the Fairest of the Fair pageant for the Del Mar Fair, now the San Diego County Fair. For the first 49 years, the pageant had a male emcee, so it was quite an honor. My father would have been so proud to have been there; he loved the Del Mar Fair. Unfortunately, he was killed by a DUI driver two years before this event. I’m sure he was smiling down at me.











Below, I was given this beautiful crown as a thank-you gift for emceeing the Miss La Jolla Fairest of the Fair pageant.






On November 5, 1993, I was invited to be the Guest of Honor at the Recruit Training Command at the Naval Training Center (NTC) – this was the second to last graduating class before the Naval Training Center officially closed. It was an emotional day in which they also paid tribute to my father. Sadly, he was killed a year before this special event. My father graduated from NTC when he came to San Diego and joined the Navy in the 1940s.







At a freeway opening, I was the emcee of this special event for Caltrans. Then-Senator Lucy Killea thanked me for my work as an air traffic reporter and for promoting safety in the air and the community. I was so honored by her remarks.











I was honored to be the emcee for the official opening of the Otay Mesa Border Crossing in 1983.











In the mid-80s, I was invited to speak to Chase Avenue Elementary in El Cajon students in this first photo. I talked to them about my job as an air traffic reporter and the importance of safety. I found this great sign in front of the school when I arrived. Wow-quite a welcome!























I was invited to the school by this young lady “Monica Ambrose.” She presented me with these beautiful flowers as a thank you! She is now grown up with a beautiful family of her own.









As part of my safety educator duties for the El Cajon Fire Department, I had the incredible opportunity to educate our young people on fire safety. One of my favorite events was the 3rd Grade Home Escape Plan Poster contest. Pictured here is one of our 1st Place winners. During my first year of talking to 3rd-grade classes about the importance of having a home escape plan, I’ll never forget a comment from one of the students after my presentation. A young girl walked up to me while students were leaving the assembly and said proudly, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you!” I almost cried; I thanked her as she hugged me!” I knew then I had decided to leave my career in broadcasting and join the fire department. Additional duties included fire investigation, conducting fire inspections, and talking to the media.


Meeting some additional celebrities – 

While hosting a Cable Showed called “Outlook on the Physically Challenged” with co-host R. David Smith, we were given an award by actor Michael Landon.







I was a big fan of the TV show “CHIPS” – it was great meeting Erik Estrada.








It was also fun meeting Jerry Mathers “the Beav” from the old Television show “Leave It to Beaver.”







And it was a treat meeting actor Mario Lopez from “Saved by the Bell.”
















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Head-On Collisions On The Rise

Posted on 22 June 2021 by Monica Zech

Traffic Check With Monica Zech: Sharing my Facebook post regarding the rise in head-on collisions on our roadways.
Traffic Advice & Alert: Due to several recent tragedies. I’ve been lecturing for a while about the rise in head-on collisions in our County. More often than not these crashes are caused by DUI drivers.
I offer these tips (included in my safe driving talks):
1. Head-on collisions often happen in the far left-hand lane, what some people call the “fast lane.” So stay out of this lane if possible, especially late at night.
2. The reason DUI drivers are in this lane – they know they’re under the influence of a drug (like alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs) so they stay in the far RIGHT-hand lane – BUT, since they’re traveling in the wrong direction – it’s the far “LEFT-hand lane.”
3. For alcohol – the first sip is immediately in your blood system and immediately impairing your body, slowing reaction time and judgment – two important factors you need to be a “safe driver.” So, NO AMOUNT is safe when it comes to driving. Make plans not to drive if your plans include alcohol or other drugs, plan ahead to have a SOBER designated driver. Call a friend, reserve a cab, or UBER.
4. When driving impaired you’re not only risking your life but the lives of others. You risk FAMILY & FRIENDS riding with you – and the LIVES of those around you.
5. As always – LIVES ARE PRICELESS! But, when it comes to money, the average DUI ticket can range from $5K to $15K or more. Arranging for a cab or UBER is much less expensive.
6. You risk your current or future job. A DUI charge on your DMV record can cause you to lose your current job, but can prevent you from getting a job you may have been studying or working hard for. All those years of studying for a career can go up in smoke. A DUI can stay on your driving record for ten years or longer.
7. Use extra caution at intersections – DUI drivers often run red lights and STOP signs. At night, they often forget to turn on their headlights – so you may not see them coming – especially the wrong way. Stay alert, looking out far out ahead of you on streets and highways.
8. Another factor, are those who are on certain medications. Stay on top of your dosages – if you are not feeling well or are on medications that cause drowsiness – DO NOT DRIVE or operate any machinery.
This head-on collision occurred on June 4, 2021.  A wrong-way driver struck the blue vehicle killing two law enforcement officers (husband & wife detectives).

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It’s a Year-Round Problem- Never Leave Children, the Elderly, or Pets Alone in Vehicles!

Posted on 05 February 2020 by Monica Zech

During warm weather and especially during heat advisories – NEVER leave babies/children/elderly and pets alone in hot vehicles – it can quickly become a death trap. I’ve seen two pets left in vehicles this past week and was about to call 9-1-1 when the owners returned.

If you love them – don’t leave them!  And don’t walk your dogs on hot asphalt and side-walks during hot weather days – this will burn their paws!

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Red Light Running Hits Deadly All Time High

Posted on 01 December 2019 by Monica Zech

As cities began turning off RED Light cameras, in San Diego, I personally saw the dramatic increase in red-light runners at lighted intersections.   In the news, I also saw the rise of collisions involving red-light runners.   A red light camera police officer told me several years ago, that there was a 300-percent increase in collisions at intersections the first time San Diego turned off red-light cameras, the second and final time they turned off cameras, that same day, there was a fatal crash when a nanny pushing a baby stroller was struck and killed by a red-light runner.

In August of 2019, the Automobile Club of Southern California released a report on the dramatic increase in red-light running fatalities at intersections.

Here are their findings:

I cover this topic in my safe driving talks, alerting motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists to use extra caution at intersections:

  • Slow down for intersections – so drivers behind you will slow down.
  • When sitting at a red light and the light turns green for you – HOLD IT!  DON’T GO UNTIL IT’S SAFE TO GO!
  • Before going – “look” to your right and then left, and then look again – watch out for the red light runner who floored a block or two away.  They may be traveling 60 to 70 mph – that’s why crashes that occur are often fatal.

Stay Alert-Stay Alive!

Monica Zech


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Medical Examiner’s Report Shows Traffic Collisions Are High on the List!

Posted on 23 September 2019 by Monica Zech

Straight from the Office of the Medical Examiner’s Office in San Diego County, a report on what’s killing us in our County.  The hard facts…

Medical Examiner: Drugs, Falls, Cars, Suicides Lead Death Investigations

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The Real-Life Dangers of Texting and Driving!

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