This weekend marks the final push in an 18-day crackdown on impaired driving, and local law enforcement is sparing no resource to ensure the job is done well.
For Labor Day Weekend, officers in Santa Barbara County have scheduled three sobriety checkpoints, five patrols specifically looking for drunken drivers and maximum deployment of California Highway Patrol officers.
The checkpoints will all be in Santa Barbara.
“Avoid the 12”, a multi-agency DUI crackdown program in Santa Barbara County, is joining other agencies from across the nation for the late-summer mobilization called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
The effort, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, kicked off Aug. 19 and concludes this coming Monday.
Jan Ford, Avoid the 12 spokeswoman, said Thursday that 133 DUI arrests had been made thus far in the county during the 18-day operation. Last year at that point, 135 DUI arrests had taken place.
Labor Day Weekend could be packed with DUI arrests, according to Ford.
“We do expect a large number of arrests, but we hope we don’t get a large number of arrests,” she added.
Ford urged those heading out to barbecues and other festivities this weekend to keep in mind that alcoholic beverage consumption can quickly add up.
“It’s easy to forget how much you’ve had to drink, because it’s not like being at a bar,” she said. “All of the sudden, you’ve had five beers.”
Ford also noted that DUI arrests cost arrestees thousands of dollars, cause their insurance costs to shoot up and give them a criminal record.
Officer Rob Wallace with the Santa Maria office of the CHP said the office will have 11 more officers than usual patrolling highways this weekend.
“We’re looking for any kind of moving violation, but we’ll specifically be looking for impaired drivers and distracted drivers as well as compliance with wearing your seat belt.”
He encouraged the public to call 9-1-1 and report any suspected drunken drivers.
“If you’re considering drinking and driving, we’ll be out there looking for you,” Wallace said.