Law enforcement on the hunt for drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day weekend

By: Staff Report
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Simple steps for a safe 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 if available.

-- Report Drunk Drivers - Call 911.

With St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, the Avoid the 7 Placer County DUI task force is urging the public to get a ride home and not get behind the wheel after drinking.

During the holiday, local police, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol throughout Placer County will be cracking down on drunk drivers as part of its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

“Drunk driving is dangerous, deadly and against the law -- and it will not be tolerated in communities this St. Patrick’s Day,” Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn said in a release. “Today we are giving fair warning to everyone traveling in Placer County that our law enforcement officers will be out on patrol, and if you are caught driving drunk, you will be arrested.”

The Avoid the 7 DUI task force will be deploying special roving DUI patrols on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in several communities throughout the area, looking to stop and arrest drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday 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 (BAC) or higher, almost twice legal limit of .08 percent.

“Whether you are gathering with friends at the local pub or attending a local party, if alcohol is part of the festivities, make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely, or contact your local sober ride program for a ride home,” Ruffcorn said.