Police and highway patrol officers are out in force throughout the Bay Area for an Independence Day holiday weekend crackdown on drunk and impaired drivers.
As part of San Mateo County's "Avoid the 23" campaign, there will be increased traffic enforcement throughout the county. A DUI checkpoint will be at El Camino Real and St. Francis Way in San Carlos.
In San Francisco, saturation patrols will begin tonight and continue through Monday. A sobriety checkpoint is planned for Saturday at Lombard and Divisadero streets from 8:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Officials said there has been a significant social change in recent years in the way people think about drunk driving, to the extent that many drivers will now phone in to report suspected drunk drivers on the road.
"Nobody tolerates DUI anymore, especially law enforcement," said San Francisco police Capt. Al Casciato, chairman of the city's "Avoid the 8" crackdown effort.
In Santa Clara County, extra patrols are planned in cities including Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose and Santa Clara. San Jose police will also be conducting a sobriety checkpoint.
In Alameda County, sobriety checkpoints are planned in Oakland and Livermore tonight at undisclosed locations. Saturation patrols are also planned for Berkeley, Dublin, Fremont, Pleasanton and University of California at Berkeley.
In Sonoma County, countywide saturation patrols and two sobriety checkpoints at unspecified locations are planned. The California Highway Patrol will also be providing extra patrols for parking and alcohol-related violations in areas near the Russian River in Healdsburg, Forestville and Guerneville, where problems are common during holiday periods.
There were 29 arrests by the CHP in the Santa Rosa area during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday period, 26 of them for DUI, officials said.
Saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints are also planned in Solano and Monterey counties. A checkpoint is planned in Salinas tonight at an undisclosed location between 6:30 p.m. and midnight.
Nationally, 410 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes during the Fourth of July weekend in 2009, and 40 percent of those deaths involved drivers who were legally drunk. Seven were killed in DUI-related wrecks in California that year and another 352 were injured.
Drivers are urged to plan a safe way home before festivities begin, designate a sober driver and give them the keys, or call a taxi, use public transit or call a sober friend or family member if they are intoxicated. Also, don't hesitate to report drunk drivers on the road by calling 911.
--Bay City News
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