Police agencies to step up DUI patrols on St. Patrick’s Day

RIVERSIDE – Law enforcement agencies throughout Riverside County warned motorists not to try their luck drinking and driving on St. Patrick’s Day.

On Monday, the county’s Avoid the 30 task force — named for the number of participating law enforcement agencies — will be staffing sobriety checkpoints and deploying saturation patrols to snare drivers who risk imbibing and getting behind the wheel.

”When you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, just be smart about it,” Riverside police Sgt. Skip Showalter, the task force coordinator. ”If you know you’re going to drink — whether with friends at a pub or attending a party — designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a taxi to make sure you get home safely. There’s never an excuse for driving after drinking.”

On St. Patrick’s Days between 2007 and 2011, 269 people died in DUI- related wrecks around the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DUI enforcement operations are planned in unincorporated communities throughout the county, as well as the cities of Canyon Lake, Coachella, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, La Quinta, Palm Springs and Riverside.

Riverside police Lt. Mark Rossi said saturation patrols will be conducted in the city all weekend, in addition to Monday.

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