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New Year's Eve revelers warned of DUI crackdown

December 31, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Police are telling New Year's Eve revelers - if you're going to drink to ring in 2013, leave the driving to someone else.

Santa Monica is just one of many Southland cities that will have sobriety checkpoints in place. It's all part of an effort to make sure drunk drivers don't ruin the night's celebrations.

If you're planning to drink to celebrate the start of 2013, Los Angeles officials are sending out a warning: Don't get behind the wheel of a car.

Police say far too often, the decision to drive under the influence ends in tragedy. Last year, 17 people were killed in Los Angeles in DUI-related collisions.

Police from several agencies and Los Angeles city and county officials gathered at a news conference on Monday to talk about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the consequences.

"Our message from the LAPD is, if impaired drivers don't think of safety, I promise you, we'll think of safety for you. If you're over the limit, you're going to be under arrest," said LAPD Capt. Jeff Bert.

The LAPD has conducted more than 125 sobriety checkpoints throughout the year. Similar checkpoints will be set up in scattered parts of the city and county Monday night.

There are plenty of free rides available to New Year's Eve revelers. All Metro rail lines, subways and the Orange Line bus way will offer free service between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Police will be keeping an eye on drivers and they'll also be monitoring what goes on inside bars.

"We'll have undercover vice officers inside bars and in nightclubs posing as customers to verify that the bartenders are not serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated persons. If they do, the bartenders and the management will be cited," said Bert.

Officials advise people to make plans for safe travel home before going out.