DUI checkpoint sign. File photo
DUI checkpoint sign. File photo

Authorities warned Southland residents that beginning Friday evening, officers will be out in force looking for people driving under the influence or otherwise committing traffic violations while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a popular holiday in the United States that is often associated with overindulgence in alcoholic beverages,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.

“But the selfish act of drinking and driving can rip people from their friends and loved ones forever,” the statement said. “For this reason, the LAPD is working to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving. Even one drink can be one too many. If you’re heading out for the Irish festivities, plan ahead and remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”

During the weekend, the LAPD will deploy additional officers at a number of DUI checkpoints and “DUI saturation patrols” in various locations in the city.

Friday evening’s enforcement effort includes:

— from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., a DUI saturation patrol in the North Hollywood area;

— from 7 p.m. to midnight, a DUI saturation patrol in the Rampart area;

— from 7 p.m. to midnight, a DUI checkpoint at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Figueroa Street; and

— from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., a DUI checkpoint at Vermont Avenue and Sixth Street.

Saturday’s enforcement effort includes:

— from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., a DUI saturation patrol in the southwest area;

— from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., a DUI saturation patrol in the Wilshire Area;

— from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., a DUI checkpoint at Figueroa and Ninth streets; and

— from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., a DUI checkpoint at Van Nuys Boulevard and Remick Avenue.

The locations of the checkpoints are subject to change or cancellation.

Multiple law enforcement agencies will be out in force throughout the county, including the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

In recent years, California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes, and authorities are cautioning motorists that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.”

“If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a `driving or operating machinery warning’ on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI,” the LAPD said. “Also, marijuana use can lead to impairment, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.”

The LAPD urged motorists to have a sober designated driver, and to use alternate transportation, including making arrangements via various applications on their phones.

The California Office of Traffic Safety offers a “DDVIP” smarthphone app that may be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices. App users can order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb.

And authorities urged people to call 911 to report impaired drivers.

Enhanced enforcement efforts are funded via a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

–City News Service

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