Avoid the 13 enters final weekend

Gilroy
– Tonight, while even the meekest of revelers is likely to ring
in the new year with champagne and other assorted adult beverages,
Santa Clara County sheriffs will conduct the final sobriety
checkpoint of this year’s Avoid the 13 campaign against drunken
driving.
Gilroy – Tonight, while even the meekest of revelers is likely to ring in the new year with champagne and other assorted adult beverages, Santa Clara County sheriffs will conduct the final sobriety checkpoint of this year’s Avoid the 13 campaign against drunken driving.

The checkpoint will be tonight on Monterey Highway, just south of Masten Avenue in San Martin, from 10pm to 2am. Avoid the 13 is annual countywide program to raise public awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. It combines the efforts of the county’s 13 law enforcement agencies in existence when the program started and is part of a larger statewide campaign.

The program spans 17 days from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2. It stresses not just the physical danger of drunken driving, but the legal and potentially ruinous financial trouble that follows a DUI arrest.

The state’s zero tolerance law means that if someone under the legal drinking age of 21 has a blood alcohol content of .01 or greater, they immediately lose their license for one year, says the California Highway patrol. An adult convicted DUI offender will have his or her license revoked or suspended for anywhere from 30 days to one year, or up to three years with prior offenses. Those convicted of DUI also are likely to be placed on probation or serve jail time, have their car towed and impounded, spend time in treatment programs and perform required community service. The process can end up costing thousands of dollars.

Detective Rosa Quinones said police in the nine-county Bay Area had made 1,727 DUI arrests through Wednesday. There have been 51 DUI-related accidents and four deaths.

The CHP reported Monday that the Christmas weekend was relatively quiet, with fewer alcohol-related arrests and accidents than previous Christmas weekends.

In Gilroy, though, drunken driving arrests are up slightly from last year, with 13 arrests by city police since the start of the campaign.

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