Police Ramp Up Patrols for St. Patrick's Day

Police across the Southland plan to be out in force Thursday, cracking down on motorists who decide to try their luck driving while under the influence on St. Patrick's Day.

Multiple Southland agencies have announced plans to saturate streets with officers as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" anti-DUI campaign.

St. Patrick's Day is among the most deadly in terms of alcohol-fueled accidents, according to the federal agency. During St. Patty's periods from 2010 to 2014, 266 people were killed nationwide in DUI-related wrecks, according to the NHTSA.

The California Highway Patrol says it made more than 120 DUI arrests on St. Patrick's Day last year, down from 489 in 2014 and 430 in 2013.

"Any decline in drunk driving arrests is certainly good news, especially if it truly indicates an increase in responsible behavior,'' CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said.

"However, one years does not necessarily show a trend, and the CHP will continue to remind people of the dangers of drunk and impaired driving.''

CHP officials offered a series of tips for people planning to head out for St. Patrick's Day:

  • Designate a sober driver if you plan to imbibe at a St. Patrick's Day party or anywhere else;
  • Consider using a taxi, or other pay-to-go ride service, such as Lyft, Curb or Uber, instead of driving after drinking;
  • Don't let a friend leave a party under the influence;
  • Call 911 if you see a someone who appears to be driving impaired; and
  • Research if a particular city offers a safe-rides program.
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