Law enforcement agencies in area aim to curb holiday drunken driving

BY VALERIE GIBBONS December 17, 2009

Patrols and checkpoints to stop drunken driving will be stepped up this week as the holiday season approaches.

Eleven law enforcement agencies from throughout the county the California Highway Patrol, Tulare County Sheriff's Department and city police departments will take part in a two-week effort to curb drunken driving.
The program will include checkpoints in Tulare, Visalia, Dinuba, Farmersville and Woodlake. Additional cars will be on patrol Fridays and Saturdays.
Officers also plan to crack down on drivers who have warrants for drunken driving offenses.
Authorities said they'll even conduct surveillance of the homes of habitual offenders.
"This program is working in Tulare County," said Sgt. Brian Winter of the Visalia Police Department. "Fatal traffic collisions are down, and arrests are up."
Funding comes from a $367,561 state grant.
Last year in Tulare County, 22 people were killed in crashes blamed on drunken driving down one-third from 2004, when there were 33 fatalities. Injuries were down 27 percent during the same period.
Forty-one of the state's 58 counties participate in the program. This year grants will pay for 1,740 sobriety checkpoints throughout the state.
The program will run through Jan. 3.