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California Police Gear Up for St. Patrick’s Day DUI Crackdown

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California police statewide are joining forces this St. Patrick’s Day in the DUI Crackdown Campaign which began Friday, March 13 and will continue through Tuesday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

Enforcement efforts include DUI patrols, speed belt enforcement, roving DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints.  The campaign is designed to educate the public about the dangers of driving impaired.  Funding for the campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow has indicated that “safety on the roadways is everyone’s responsibility.  If you are going to be drinking, make sure you have a designated driver.”

On Friday, the Costa Mesa police department conducted a sobriety checkpoint where they stopped 364 vehicles and screened 34 drivers for driving under the influence.  Out of those screened, four were arrested on DUI charges. 

Law enforcement statewide will be staffed and equipped to man sobriety checkpoints with the main hours of operation focused between Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning.  In the Sacramento area, officers who have been trained in detecting alcohol and drug impaired drivers will be at checkpoints Tuesday night equipped with hand-held breath-testing devices. CHP is cracking down hard, and will be looking to arrest anyone under the influence who is operating a vehicle.

According to CHP, last year on St. Patrick’s Day, 50 people were injured in 110 alcohol involved traffic accidents.  The number of people killed in alcohol involved collisions in California has risen from 1,233 in 2000 to 1,489 in 2007.  Police are hoping that their aggressive campaign and urging the public to call 911 to report a drunk driver will make California roads a safe place this holiday.

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