ORANGE COUNTY (KABC) -- Southern California is gearing up to ring in 2023 Saturday night and law enforcement agencies across Orange County are making sure everyone has a happy, healthy and safe start to the new year.
Lt. Thoby Archer with Huntington Beach Police said patrol officers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers over the long holiday weekend.
"We have extra staffing throughout our downtown business district and also DUI saturation patrols throughout the weekend," he said. "There really is no reason in this day and age to drink and drive."
HBPD conducted DUI checkpoints through early Friday morning. Archer said the goal was to get drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs off the road and to educate the public.
"Often times, there'll be upwards of 700, 800 to 1,000 cars that will travel through a checkpoint and we want to make it known to the public that we're out there," he said. "We're enforcing the law and that we are vigilant in trying to reduce drunk driving in our community."
Archer said so far this year in Huntington Beach there have been 16 DUI-related deaths, over 650 DUI arrests and more than 70 DUI-related accidents.
If you do plan to celebrate New Year's Eve with alcohol, there are alternatives to ensure you get to and from your destination safely.
The Orange County Transportation Authority will offer free bus rides started Saturday at 6 p.m. and on New Year's Day.
Authorities urge people to designate a sober driver or use ride shares like Uber or Lyft.
"An average cost of a taxi is minimal compared to an estimated cost of over $10,000 with fines and court fees when you get a DUI," Archer said. "Make sure you make a responsible decision because not only your life that you affect but it's likely going to be somebody else's as well."
Rainy weather is expected all weekend so that will be an added danger for drivers.
Archer said the safest way to ring in 2023 is by staying home.