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County sees increase in DUI arrests
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The campaign to take drunken drivers off the road during the busy holiday season saw an increase in the number of arrests, according to the latest figures released by the Turlock Police Department.

The 2010/11 Winter Holiday DUI Mobilization crackdown on drunken drivers resulted in the arrests of 154 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In 2009/10 146 DUI arrests occurred during the same time period.

From 12:01 a.m. Dec. 17 to midnight Sunday, the law enforcement agencies that comprise the Avoid the 12 campaign, conducted numerous sobriety checkpoints and special saturation patrols throughout Stanislaus County. The Turlock Police Department is the overseeing agency for the Avoid the 12.

Law enforcement officials will be conducting more anti drunken driving efforts throughout the county and region again during Super Bowl Sunday and for local St Patrick’s Day festivities.

The increased anti drunken driving efforts are funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. Statewide, the agency funded $5 million in grants for additional sobriety checkpoints, with more than 230 taking place during the winter campaign.“We are continuing the substantial effort to deter and arrest drunk drivers that has had such a tremendous impact on traffic safety in California,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy.  “DUI checkpoints are proven as the most effective DUI countermeasure and we are continuing to support those enforcement efforts statewide, particularly in the ‘Top 50 DUI Cities’ in California.”

In Stanislaus County, only Modesto made the list of the Top 50 DUI Cities, ranking 16th, with 152 alcohol related fatalities and/or injuries reported in 2008, the last year the ranking was compiled.

Alcohol-impaired fatalities have declined substantially in recent years – down 26 percent since 2006 when OTS and law enforcement began placing increased emphasis and funding toward sobriety checkpoints. DUI deaths declined by 7.6 percent in California between 2008 and 2009.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.