[UPDATED with Irvine DUI Stop:] St. Patrick's Day Weekend Sobriety Checkpoints: San Clemente, Tustin, Orange, Laguna Beach

See the update at the end of page 2 with the date and location of Irvine's DUI checkpoint.

ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 15, 10:44 A.M.: Beginning tonight and continuing through early Monday, DUI checkpoints and special patrols will be scattered across Orange County due to the gallons of green beer flowing over St. Patrick's Day weekend.

Only one specific enforcement location has been divulged by cops, so . . . SURPRISE!

The Orange County Sheriff's Department kicks things off from 6 tonight through 2 a.m. Saturday with a DUI/driver's license checkpoint somewhere in San Clemente. Motorists passing through will be checked for signs of intoxication or failure to be licensed to drive.

The Tustin Police Department Traffic Unit conducts a DUI/driver's license checkpoint somewhere in the city from 7 tonight through 2 a.m. Saturday.

Only the Orange Police Department checkpoint location is known: Chapman Avenue and Prospect Street east of the 55 freeway. It begins at 7:30 tonight and continues through 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Laguna Beach Police Department deploys officers to various locations on St. Patrick's Day Sunday "to stop and arrest alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers," according to the agency. DUI checkpoints will run from 9 p.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday in areas known for DUI-related arrests, accidents and fatalities.

A sheriff's deputy checks a driver at a previous checkpoint.
A sheriff's deputy checks a driver at a previous checkpoint.
Photos courtesy of Orange County Sheriff's Department

"Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough," reports the sheriff's department.

The same agency administers the Orange County "Avoid the 38" DUI Task Force--named after the 38 member law enforcement agencies--which has special roving DUI patrols out this St. Patrick's Day weekend in several local communities in and out of the OC sheriff's jurisdictions. These special patrols are in addition to the regular patrols by cops and deputies who will also have eyes out for boozy and druggy drivers.

The task force justifies the heavy presence by pointing to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data that shows more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during St. Patrick's Day holidays from 2006 to 2010.

On the next page are tips the task force has passed along to help drivers avoid death, injuries, heavy fines, suspended licenses and prison time . . .
 

[UPDATED with Irvine DUI Stop:] St. Patrick's Day Weekend Sobriety Checkpoints: San Clemente, Tustin, Orange, Laguna Beach
  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.


"And if you know someone who is about to drive a car or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take the keys and help that person make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely," advises the task force.

Funding for all these ops is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you spot a drunken driver, you are urged to call 9-1-1.

UPDATE, MARCH 15, 2:27 P.M.: A sobriety checkpoint will be held on Jamboree Road and Barranca Parkway Saturday night, the Irvine Police Department announced this afternoon.

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