Careful ingesting that green beer and all those other St. Paddy's Day alcoholic beverages this weekend because the law is watching for drunk drivers.
No lucky charm will get you out of a DUI ticket, if you've had too many. It could mean between three and five years of court probation, fines and court fees of up to $1,800, a possible six-month loss of your California driver's license and even jail time.
The heavy police crackdown on drunken driving began after midnight Friday, March 15 and continues until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 17, St. Patrick's Day.
The Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force urges motorists to plan a safe ride home and never get behind the wheel drunk or drugged, said Michelle Sandoval, the Avoid the 13 grant project director.
During the enforcement period, all area law enforcement departments, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, and the California Highway Patrol will be on high alert throughout the South Bay looking for intoxicated drivers.
The effort is part of the agencies' "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" public safety campaign, Sandoval said.
The Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force will be deploying special roving DUI patrols this weekend in these communities:
- Santa Clara, 2
- Mountain View, 1
- Sunnyvale, 1
- Morgan Hill, 1
- Cupertino, 1
- San Jose State University, 1
"All other law enforcement agencies will be emphasizing DUI enforcement," Sandoval cautioned.
There will also be two DUI checkpoints this weekend in Gilroy and San Jose, she said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during St. Patrick’s Day holidays from 2006 to 2010.
On average, every 51 minutes a person is killed in a drunk-driving crash in the United States and the majority of these crashes involve drivers who have a .15 percent blood alcohol content or higher, almost twice legal limit of .08 percent.
The Avoid the 13 Task Force recommends the following easy steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day:
- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
- Use your community’s sober ride program
- Report Drunk Drivers—Call 911.
- If you know someone who is about to drive a car or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take the keys and help that person make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going safely.
The Task Force is funded through a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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