See the update at the end of this post on arrest and fatality totals from countywide anti-DUI enforcement over the Fourth of July weekend.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 3, 1:43 P.M.: With the Fourth of July holiday, Orange County can expect DUI checkpoints, saturation patrols and extra officers watching our highways.
The drugged and over-boozy can also take advantage of free rides to avoid 502's.
How it's all breaking down follows after the jump …
JULY 3-7: Beginning tonight and continuing through Sunday night, the Orange County Sheriff's Department will have extra patrols running in its contract cities and the unincorporated parts of the county. The California Highway Patrol deploys all available officers to the region's freeways, state highways and unincorporated roads from 6 tonight through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
FOURTH OF JULY: Saturation patrols, where officers flood areas with histories of drunken driving, accidents and fatalities, are scheduled from 6 p.m. Thursday through 3 a.m. Saturday in Orange and Anaheim.
JULY 5: Police and sheriff's deputies hold DUI checkpoints from 6 p.m. Friday through 1 a.m. Saturday at undisclosed locations in Aliso Viejo and Seal Beach. Fountain Valley does the same from 9 p.m. Friday through 3 a.m. Saturday.
JULY 6: Brea police hold a DUI checkpoint at a secret spot from 6 p.m. Saturday through 1 a.m. Sunday. Saturation patrols run from 6 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Sunday in Placentia, Costa Mesa, La Habra and Cypress.
So, what if you want to get around all this, if you're just not that into throwing tens of thousands of dollars at a lawyer to keep your license from getting suspended after a DUI?
For the 16th straight year, the Automobile Club of Southern California offers its free “Tipsy Tow” service for intoxicated drivers during the Fourth of July holiday, beginning tonight. A free tow home of up to seven miles will be available by calling 800.400.4222.
Of course, there is fine print to this deal: It's only available in Orange County and 12 other Southern California counties through 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Passengers don't get rides; the service is limited to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver. And vehicles will only be towed to the driver's residence, so don't do your Foster Brooks impression just so you can get your broken-ass jalopy dropped off at the local mechanic. Unless you live in the shack out back; then it would be OK.
If you're at Dana Point Harbor's Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza and you plan to booze it up, you can get a ride there and back to Dana Hills High School thanks to the city's free shuttle. Of course, that would require a home within stumbling distance of the campus. And no drinking at Doheny!
Come back to Navel Gazing for details on future DUI operations, including checkpoints in Garden Grove on July 12 and Tustin on July 26.
UPDATE, JULY 9, 11:06 A.M.: From 12:01 a.m. Wednesday through midnight Sunday, officers representing Orange County's 38 law enforcement agencies arrested at least 247 people for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, according to the sheriff's department.
The “Avoid the 38” task force notes that total is provisional because some agencies have yet to report.
With the Fourth falling on a Wednesday last year, there was only a two-day enforcement period–featuring checkpoints and extra patrols. That anti-DUI campaign netted 78 arrests. There were also no fatalities related to DUI reported in 2012, compared to one this year mentioned in this post:
Expect more to come from “Avoid the 38,” which is gearing up for an 18-day summer campaign starting in August and ending Labor Day weekend. The sheriff's department and other Orange County law enforcement agencies fund their local operations through grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Whether a campaign is running or not, “Avoid the 38” urges you to call 9-1-1 if you see a drunken or drugged driver on the road.