Holiday DUI crackdown begins tomorrow in Riverside County

Random checkpoint planned in Desert Hot Springs

Desert Sun wire services • December 17, 2009

Beginning tomorrow, law enforcement agencies across Riverside County will be ramping up patrols to snare drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs as part of a two-week holiday crackdown.

The campaign will start Friday evening and will continue until Jan. 3.
The crackdown will coincide with the California Highway Patrol's ``maximum enforcement'' operations during Christmas and New Year's weekends, when 80 percent of the CHP's officers will hit the streets.
``We continue to see far too many people suffer debilitating injuries and loss of their loved-ones as a result of impaired driving,'' said Riverside police Chief Russ Leach. ``This careless disregard for human life must stop."
During the 2008 holiday period, three people died in alcohol-related crashes in Riverside County, according to Karen Haverkamp, Riverside police traffic bureau supervisor.
She said 491 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI.

The campaign, paid for with federal tax dollars, will combine saturation patrols and DUI/drivers's license checkpoints to catch impaired drivers.
Random checkpoints are planned in Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Riverside and Temecula.
``Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk,'' said Christopher Murphy, director of the state Office of Traffic Safety. ``No only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant.''