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DUI crackdown patrols underway in Citrus Heights through Sept. 4

Police Lights, SUV. Photo credit: Luke Otterstad
File photo, police lights. // Citrus Heights Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
“Law enforcement officers’ skills in detecting and identifying drunk drivers have never been better. They will spot you and arrest you.” That’s the warning message Citrus Heights police are sending out in anticipation of an uptick in drunk driving activity around Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4 this year.

According to an Aug. 22 news release, the local department said it has partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a nationwide high-visibility “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The 18-day coordinated campaign began on Aug. 18 and will continue through Labor Day, with Citrus Heights police deploying extra “saturation patrol” units to seek out suspected DUI drivers.

About 10,000 people die each year due to drunk driving collisions across the United States, according to statistics cited by police from the NHTSA. Over the Labor Day weekend of 2014, police said 40 percent of collision fatalities involved drunk drivers and resulted in 20 deaths during that weekend alone.

“People need to understand that drunk driving is not only deadly, but it is illegal,” Lt. Alex Turcotte said in the department’s news release, calling drunk driving a “massive problem” around the country. “If you think you see a drunk driver, report them – call 911.”

Citrus Heights police also encourage party-goers to make plans in advance and designate a sober driver before beginning to drink. The department also promotes a new free mobile app, “Designated Driver VIP,” which offers incentives for sober drivers. The app locates nearby restaurants and bars that feature free non-alcoholic beverages and free appetizers for designated drivers, as well as options for people who are drinking to call Lyft, Uber, or Curb.

Funding for the Drive Sober campaign comes from a California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grant, through the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. CHPD was awarded a $145,000 OTS grant last year to help fund a year-long program of safety-related efforts, with a focus on DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Update: The latest campaign also included an Aug. 25 DUI and drivers license checkpoint at Sunrise Boulevard and Oak Avenue. According to Sgt. Kris Frey, a total of 743 vehicles were stopped and one misdemeanor DUI arrest was made. 14 other citations were issued for various vehicle code violations and four vehicles were impounded.


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