Labor Day weekend, as the unofficial end of summer, is about more than just maximizing one's sunshine intake at barbecues. For the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement, it's about maximizing enforcement and cracking down on impaired driving.
Since August 19, several agencies have been conducting ongoing campaigns meant to curb drunken driving, including Sonoma County's Summer Mobilization Period and Marin County's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" operation, each run by their respective Avoid the 13 DUI task forces.
The CHP has dubbed its period of increased vigilance as its Maximum Enforcement Program.
Statewide, CHP officers have arrested 468 drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both, according to provisional numbers released today.
The arrests represent an increase from last year's total of 436 DUI arrests from the first night of the long holiday weekend. Those statistics reflect arrests made between 6 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. today.
In Marin County, law enforcement agents made one DUI arrest stemming from 1,786 vehicle screenings at a San Rafael checkpoint Friday night. Thirteen field sobriety tests were administered at the Avoid the 13 DUI and driver's license checkpoint at the intersection of Grand Avenue and East Francisco Boulevard.
One person was arrested on an outstanding warrant, three drivers with suspended licenses were arrested, and 15 unlicensed drivers were cited and released, according to San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher. Three mechanical citations and 30 moving safety violations were also issued between 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. at the checkpoint, she said.
"Our message is simple and unwavering: if we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions," San Rafael Police Chief Jeff Franzini said in a statement today.
"Even if you beat the odds and manage to walk away from an impaired-driving crash alive, the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can still destroy your life," Franzini said.
In Sonoma County, two people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence during a Friday night checkpoint in Santa Rosa that netted 11 other arrests for driver's license or substance-related violations.
"Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" is a national campaign led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The enforcement period runs through Labor Day.
— Bay City News