Thank God it's Friday–unless you're one of the unfortunate saps who gets caught up in anti-DUI enforcement tonight, when there will be a checkpoint in Newport Beach and saturation patrols in Stanton, Villa Park and Yorba Linda.
The Newport Beach operation runs at an undisclosed location within the city limits from 8 p.m. through 2 a.m. Saturday. Police Sgt. Michael Schiavi says DUI collisions have claimed three lives and resulted in 177 injury crashes harming 236 people in Newport Beach over the past three years.
The checkpoint location is based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests “affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence,” according to a department statement.
That's the same criteria for saturation patrols, where special mobile units cover streets known for DUI arrests, crashes and deaths. Sheriff's deputies will be out from 7 tonight through 3 a.m. Saturday in Stanton, Villa Park and Yorba Linda.
“This is a 'Zero Tolerance' crackdown so drive sober or get pulled over!” says Sgt. Ray Wert in an Orange County Sheriff's Department Traffic Bureau release. The agency also cite statistics that show over the past three years, DUI collisions in areas contracted by the Sheriff's Department have claimed 21 lives and resulted in 497 injuries.
Funding for the Newport Beach checkpoint and sheriff's saturation patrols comes from California Office of Traffic Safety grants, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Meanwhile, over the New Year's period, 28 people died in collisions statewide, about double the number of deaths reported the previous year, according to the California Highway Patrol. Statewide, the CHP made 450 arrests for suspicion of DUI, almost triple the same period last year.
The Weekly sought but never received similar stats from the county anti-DUI task force's winter enforcement period, but we do know part of it included the rounding up of 25 people named in DUI warrants. Deputies arrested 12 people on Dec. 15, and 13 people surrendered to court officials since then, according to the sheriff's department.
The warrants were issued for people who failed to show up for a court date or who violated terms of their probation in a DUI case, said officials, who noted some of those folks now face even harsher penalties.
The warrant operations was also funded by a state Office of Traffic Safety grant.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.