UPDATE, MARCH 13, 11:22 A.M.: The Orange County Sheriff's Department just announced that its DUI Task Force will deploy roving DUI patrols during this St. Patrick's Day "holiday weekend" in Mission Viejo, Lake Forest and Rancho Santa Margarita.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 13, 6:31 A.M.: Can you guess which weekend before a pseudo holiday has law enforcement extra antsy about boozy, druggy and boozed up druggy drivers?
This weekend! The police departments of Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Garden Grove have announced special enforcement operations aimed at those who begin their St. Patrick's Day partying early.
Meanwhile, BeMyDD (Be My Designated Driver), the nation's largest designated driver service, is celebrating its five-year anniversary since its founding on St. Patrick's Day 2010 by offering five dollars off each hour of its Personal Driver service for new customers who book for St. Patrick's Day (which is Tuesday) by March 13 (which is today, Friday the 13th).
The police departments of Irvine and Newport Beach Police Department kicks things off with DUI/drivers license checkpoints from 8 tonight through 2 a.m. Saturday in both cities. Newport's is at an undisclosed location within city limits, while's Irvine's checkpoint is in the area of MacArthur Boulevard between Campus Drive and Douglas.
Garden Grove's checkpoint, which is also at an unannounced location, runs from 9 tonight through 3 a.m. Saturday.
The Costa Mesa Police Department is deploying six roving DUI patrols all weekend. These are in addition to the regular patrols by officers who will be looking for drunk or drugged drivers as well.
Funding for the special operations in all four cities comes from California Office of Traffic Safety grants, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Those who would like to take BeMyDD up on the special St. Paddy's Day discount need to use the promo code "five." Visit www.BeMyDD.com/five.
The service is different than Uber and Lyft, whose drivers pick you up in their own vehicles. BeMyDD's professional, experienced chauffeurs operate your own vehicle.
Another difference is BeMyDD services are priced at pre-determined rates free of surge pricing or other surprise fees, according to the company. Rates for round-trip service are $14-$19.50 per hour, depending on geography, and there is a three-hour minimum. Reservations need to be made ahead of time through BeMyDD.com, by calling 877.823.6933 or by downloading and using their mobile app (iOS and Android).
If you just need to be picked up at a location and taken home, the service costs $25 and $3.45 per mile with a $45 minimum. (The higher rate is due to the fact BeMyDD must dispatch two drivers, one to take the client and their car home and a second to follow behind to retrieve the BeMyDD driver.)
California Office of Traffic Safety's party-planning checklist to stay safe this St. Patrick's Day follows on the next page ...
• DDVIP: The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices. Launched last year to treat the Designated Driver as the night's VIP, the new app offers enhanced features, allowing users to "Map a Spot" with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or a "List of Spots" to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California. Each establishment offers one or more free items to the Designated Sober Driver, from non-alcoholics drinks to appetizers. Users can stay up-to-date with the latest from DDVIP and see what other users are saying via its social tab. Also through the app, for those who want to imbibe should also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb - all from one screen.
• NOW: Even if you don't have plans yet, plan to drive sober or designate someone else to. Save the number of a taxi or rideshare company in your phone so you always have a backup plan.
WHEN YOU MAKE PLANS: A sober driver is an essential part of any party plan. Once you know where you'll celebrate, decide whether you're drinking or driving. You can only choose one.
• ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY: Before you take your first sip of green beer, leave your keys at home or give them to a friend. If you're the designated driver, don't drink. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and brag about your VIP (very important partygoer) status online using the hashtag #designateddriver. Only drive sober or ride with a sober driver.
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• EVERY DAY: If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely. If available, use your community's free ride program. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
• DRUGS, MEDICATION & ALCOHOL= CRASHES: Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.
The California Office of Traffic Safety reminds everyone to 'Report Drunk Drivers! Call 9-1-1.' Stay connected with OTS via: http://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS, or http://twitter.com/#!/OTS_CA, www.ots.ca.gov.