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DUI saturation patrol planned for New Year’s Eve

Be patient, call a friend, police chief advises
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Around 36 allegedly drunken drivers have taken a pricey trip to the Placer County Jail over the holidays. According to driving under the influence statistics from Placer County’s Avoid the 7 program, about 36 DUI arrests have been made as of Monday since multiple law enforcement agencies beefed up holiday patrols Dec. 18. The holiday enforcement period lasts through Jan. 3 and includes a South Placer-focused saturation effort New Year’s Eve. According to Lincoln Police Officer Todd Rayback, who is coordinating Placer’s Avoid the 7 program this year, the initial 10-day period of patrols has been significantly less than last year’s 77 DUI arrests made during the same time. However, Rayback added a disclaimer that not all agencies have yet reported their full DUI numbers. Auburn Police Chief Valerie Harris said officers will be on normal patrol New Year’s Eve, watching for driver behavior and will also drive through neighborhoods to deter any theft or other mischief. Harris said the DUI arrests during the Avoid the 7 enforcement time period have included drivers who are two or three times over the legal .08 blood alcohol content limit to those who are just over that number. A DUI arrest can quickly add up in costs, according to Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. Drivers charged with operating a car under the influence face jail time, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, and more. Harris offered a word of caution to those celebrating the new year. “Enjoy yourself but do not get behind the wheel if you are impaired,” Harris said. “Be patient and call a friend, call a cab or call us. In some ways we should be able to problem solve a way to get you home.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- DUIs by the numbers 36 – Number of DUI arrests made in Placer County between Dec. 18 and Dec. 28 117 – Number of DUI arrests in Placer County during 2008 winter enforcement period 2 – Number of DUI-related fatal collisions in Placer County last year during the holidays Source: californiaavoid.org ----------