Police will be looking for drunken revelers today

Gilroy
– The green beer will be flowing today, but police will be
looking to keep those who enjoy it off the road.
California Highway Patrol officers will be out in force around
Gilroy today and tonight, looking to crack down on drunken driving
this St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The CHP reminds revelers to secure
a designated driver if they will be celebrating.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – The green beer will be flowing today, but police will be looking to keep those who enjoy it off the road.

California Highway Patrol officers will be out in force around Gilroy today and tonight, looking to crack down on drunken driving this St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The CHP reminds revelers to secure a designated driver if they will be celebrating.

Just in case they don’t, police in Morgan Hill will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint.

Gilroy police will have the normal number of officers on the streets, but will be paying special attention to drunken drivers.

Last year on March 17, 92 people were injured in 124 alcohol-related collisions statewide.

“It is a holiday often associated with unrestrained alcohol consumption,” said Lt. Joe Sampson of the Morgan Hill Police Department.

The checkpoint will be held from 8:30pm until 2am on Monterey Road, south of Old Monterey Road near Cochrane Road. The purpose of the checkpoint, made possible by a grant from California’s Office of Traffic Safety, is to both educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving and arrest drunken drivers.

Sampson said officers will be paying particular attention to persons younger than 21 years of age who, under California law, must submit to an in-field breathalyzer test and may not have any traceable amount of alcohol in their system. Those found to have alcohol in their system will lose their license for one year and, depending on their blood alcohol content, may be arrested and taken to jail.

“At any age, a DUI arrest is a costly and embarrassing affair,” Sampson said.

The CHP’s enforcement campaign will put every available officer out in high traffic areas and is part of a year-long program to target drunken driving. In a take-off on the traditional Gaelic blessing, it is called “May the road rise up to meet you, but not while you are behind the wheel.”

“Two green beers could put you over that limit,” CHP Commissioner Mike Brown said in a statement.

Anyone interested in more information about drinking and driving may visit several Web sites, Sampson said, including:

– California state DMV, www.dmv.ca.gov

– Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), www.madd.org,

– U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.health.org

– California Office of Traffic Safety at, www.ots.ca.gov

The sites contain information to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving, charts designed to serve as guidelines for knowing your limit, and stories from people whose lives have been forever affected by drunk driving, Sampson said.

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