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THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL, with the help of Aerial Advertising Services, is taking to the skies this weekend to drive home its anti-DUI message. Bay Area law enforcement is again taking part in the "Avoid the 125'' campaign to find, test and arrest those suspected of driving while intoxicated.

A SINGLE-ENGINE plane takes to the skies in an aerial assault on drunken-driving. The California Highway Patrol has recruited Aerial Advertising Services to fly over the Bay Area this weekend towing a banner reminding holiday motorists not to drink and drive.


Tri-Valley Herald

Motorists asked to 'avoid' DUIs - Bay Area roads to be blanketed by 12,000 officers over holiday weekend

By Simon Read

Friday, July 02, 2004 -

The California Highway Patrol and regional police departments will hit the Bay Area's roadways this weekend in force, dispatching 12,000 officers to find, test and arrest motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated.

In Alameda County, the CHP -- along with local police departments will again launch "Avoid the 21." Named after the 21 law enforcement agencies throughout the county, "Avoid the 21" is an effort to remove drunken and impaired drivers from the road.

"Avoid the 21" is part of the Bay Area's nine-county Regional Avoid Campaign, involving 125 law enforcement agencies and funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the "Avoid" campaign netted 142 arrests for driving-under-the-influence.

"For many people, this is a getaway weekend," CHP Officer Steve Creel said. "For the CHP, it's a period of maximum enforcement. Certainly, our goal is to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries."

Creel said 45 people were killed statewide in traffic accidents over Fourth of July weekend last year. During that same 78-hour period, the CHP made 1,497 DUI arrests.

"Independence Weekend is all about freedom," said "Avoid" spokeswoman Jan Ford. "This weekend, people need to be free of the fear of being hurt or killed by an intoxicated driver."

Ford said that of the six major holiday periods throughout the year Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's -- Fourth of July is the worst for DUI-related injuries.

"Independence weekend is just really nasty. It ranks second to Labor Day for deaths," Ford said. "People think New Year's is the worst, but New Year's actually ranks fourth out of the six."

Pleasanton Police Sgt. Donald Saulsbury neatly summed up the department's weekend intentions.

"We're going to arrest all drunk drivers," he said. "We'll be using our usual saturation patrol tactics to locate, stop and -- when appropriate -- arrest people suspected of driving-under-the-influence."

Traditionally, Pleasanton has not had a problem with drunken-driving over the Fourth of July, said Saulsbury, adding "things can be different from year to year."

Likewise, Livermore Police Sgt. Steve Gallagher said Livermore "doesn't necessarily see an increase or decrease" in DUI offenses over the Fourth of July.

"It's pretty normal, but we always prepare for the worst," Gallagher said. "We'll have saturation patrols. On July 3, we're conducting a DUI checkpoint in conjunction with the CHP."

The checkpoint will take place in the North Livermore area between 5 and 9 p.m.

In Contra Costa County, the Sheriff's Department will be monitoring roadways and waterways, spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

"In a very general sense, we will have ramped-up patrols for intoxicated drivers," Lee said. "Traditionally, we do see a spike in intoxicated driving during the Fourth of July. It's a big holiday weekend, and we'll be putting as many people on the streets as possible."

Lee said the department's marine patrol will be sweeping the Delta "in force."

"This time of year, we do see an increase in boating-under-the-influence accidents and reckless boating," Lee said.

CHP Sgt. Wayne Ziese said officers are ready for what could be a busy weekend.

"We'll be spending time putting people in jail," Ziese said. "We don't want to do it, but the alternative is completely unacceptable."

The CHP has hired the services of an aerial advertising company to fly over the Bay Area towing banners reminding people not to drink and drive.

"They'll be flying around populated areas, trying to drive home the message to think about designated drivers," Ziese said. "We've used high-tech measures and partnered with the media to get our message out. This is a way to hit tens of thousands of people as they drive their cars."


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