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Riverside DUI crackdown nets 160 drivers

December 24, 2008 10:05:00 PM PST
In the first 12 days of a countywide law enforcement crackdown on suspected drunken drivers, 160 individuals were arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated, Riverside County authorities said Wednesday.The county's "Avoid the 30" DUI enforcement campaign, which began Dec. 12, netted the suspected DUI drivers during saturation traffic patrols and sobriety checkpoints through Tuesday night, according to Riverside police Traffic Bureau Administrator Karen Haverkamp.

The Avoid the 30 campaign -- named for the 30 law enforcement agencies in Riverside County, including the sheriff's department and California Highway Patrol, that take part -- will continue into early January.

According to Haverkamp, additional saturation patrols and checkpoints are scheduled in Corona, Hemet, Indio, Lake Elsinore, Perris and Temecula over the next two weeks.

Drivers traveling throughout the holidays were encouraged to report dangerous drivers, looking for individuals weaving in and out of lanes, braking erratically and driving aggressively.

"How many times have you seen someone driving erratically in an unsafe manner and wished there was a cop around?" Haverkamp said. "Law enforcement can't be everywhere at once. We need the public's help to find impaired drivers and get them off the roads promptly."

Last year was the first since 1998 that alcohol-related fatalities declined in California, according to the state Office of Traffic Safety. Just fewer 1,500 people died in alcohol-related collisions in 2007, compared to roughly 1,600 in 2006.

Haverkamp said the goal of the Avoid campaign, which is being funded via a state grant, is to continue to push the statistics down.

One DUI fatality, involving a motorcyclist in Norco, has been reported in Riverside County since the start of the campaign, Haverkamp said.


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