[UPDATED with Final Tallies:] Fourth of July Surprise! Stepped Up DUI Checkpoints and Patrols

UPDATE, JULY 6, 10:38 A.M.: The Avoid the 38 DUI Task Force just released the final numbers from the holiday weekend past's three sobriety checkpoints and multiple DUI saturation patrols countywide.

From 12:01 a.m. Friday through midnight Monday, officers representing 38 county law enforcement agencies arrested 211 people for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There were 108 DUI arrests during the July 4, 2010, holiday weekend.

No DUI deaths were reported over this year's four-day holiday period.

"The Task Force ended up with quite a few more arrests this year than it did during the same period last year," says Deputy Wayne Howard of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Traffic Bureau, in the Avoid the 38 wrap-up statement. "We will continue to show zero tolerance, and anyone caught driving with a [blood-alcohol content] of .08 or higher will be arrested."

Irvine police released individual figures from its Saturday night checkpoint on Culver Drive at Farwell:

Vehicle stopped: 505
Sobriety tests: 5
DUI arrests: 1
Citations issued: 3

The California Highway Patrol, which had all available personnel on Orange County freeways, highways and unincorporated roads it patrols, reported 69 DUI arrests from 6 p.m. Friday to midnight Monday. Over the same holiday period last year, the CHP lodged 51 DUI arrests within its OC jurisdiction, where there were no fatalities. There was one this year.

My colleague Chasen Marshall updated his post on Newport Beach's "Loud and Unruly Gatherings Ordinance" that was enforced over the historically unruly Fourth of July weekend: 15 homes were "red-tagged" and 59 arrests were made, according to Newport Beach police.

Those arrest numbers were essentially the same as previous Fourths in Newport.

Meanwhile, local law enforcement is gearing up for an 18-day anti-DUI campaign in August through Labor Day weekend. Visit CaliforniaAvoid for more details.

Don't drink like a fish!
Don't drink like a fish!
Illustration by Jay Brockman/OC Weekly

ORIGINAL POST, JULY 1, 12:39 P.M.: Besides sunning, imbibing and blowing shit up--always a ripping Fourth of July combination--Orange Countians can look forward this long holiday weekend to stepped-up enforcement against drunken driving.

We're talking DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols, people.

Buzz-killing begins with gusto tonight in Brea and Aliso Viejo.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department runs a sobriety stop somewhere in Aliso Viejo from 6:30 tonight to 2:30 a.m . Saturday.

The Brea Police Department has its own from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Again, the intersection has not been disclosed.

A DUI checkpoint will be run from 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday on Culver Drive at Farwell in Irvine.

Saturation patrols, which has officers swarming on locations known for drunken driving incidents, will be held tonight through Monday night in Brea, Irvine, Orange, Placentia, Buena Park, Garden Grove, La Habra, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Santa Ana, Yorba Linda, the area patrolled by Cal State Fullerton Police and the unincorporated areas and contract cities under the Orange County Sheriff's Department umbrella.

The California Highway Patrol is also stepping up DUI enforcement from 6 tonight through midnight Monday, assigning all available officers to the region's freeways, state highways and unincorporated roads.

This is all part of the Avoid the 38 Campaign, which issued the following justification:

Statistics gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the past 25 years show that, on average, nearly half of all deadly traffic crashes during each year's July 4th holiday involved some level of alcohol.

In fact, 410 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally during the Fourth of July
weekend in 2009. Of that number, 40 percent involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In California, seven were killed in DUI wrecks in 2009 while another 352 were injured in Alcohol Involved Collisions.

"The Fourth of July is a time most Americans spend celebrating with family and friends, but it is also one of the year's deadliest times on our roadways. So we will be out in force cracking down on drunk driving. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested," said Sgt. Mark Daigle of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Traffic Bureau.

Impaired driving is one of America's deadliest problems. In 2009 alone, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, accounting for nearly 32 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. That's an average of one impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes in 2009. Because someone drove impaired over the legal limit, 950 men, women and children died in California.

"The summer holidays are some of the deadliest time periods on our roadways, so everyone must remember to be responsible and plan ahead; use a Designated Sober Driver," said Chris Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "Just know everyone traveling down the road near you has a cell phone and will call 9-1-1 to report a suspected drunk driver!"

The OC operations are funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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