San Diego Sheriff's Department
A Sheriff’s traffic checkpoint. Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego Sheriff’s Department

Authorities in San Diego County and around the state will begin a Christmas weekend enforcement effort Friday targeting motorists driving drunk or violating other traffic laws.

The 54-hour “maximum enforcement period” will begin at 6:01 p.m. Friday and continue through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

During that period, all available officers will be assigned patrol duties, the CHP reported.

“With anticipated high volumes of traffic and impending winter storms, the CHP wants you to slow down, buckle up and never drive impaired,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray.

“Give yourself some extra time to get to your destinations, make sure your vehicles are fueled up and properly equipped for your travels and most of all, always designate a sober driver,” Ray said.

According to the CHP, 28 people were killed statewide in traffic crashes during the 54-hour Christmas weekend maximum enforcement period last year.

During that time, CHP officers made 341 arrests for driving under the influence and issued 1,151 citations for speeding violations and 16 citations for occupants not being properly restrained.

The La Mesa Police Department will conduct a DUI checkpoint starting this holiday weekend in an undisclosed location, officials announced.

The checkpoint will take place from 7 p.m. Friday and last through 2 a.m. Saturday, according to the department.

“Impaired drivers put others on the road at significant risk,” LMPD Chief Ray Sweeney said in a statement.

County sheriff’s department deputies will also be on the lookout for impaired drivers during increased patrols through Jan. 1, officials said.

So far this year, deputies have arrested more than 900 people for impaired driving, according to the department.

“As Christmas and New Year’s Day approach, we want everyone to be safe while on our roadways,” said interim Sheriff Anthony Ray. “No matter where you’re going this holiday season, say no to impaired driving.”

People arrested and convicted for impaired driving could pay over $15,000 in legal and court fees, according to officials.

People who see an impaired driver on the road may call the Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200. Sheriff’s officials also said that DUI doesn’t just refer to alcohol: prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and marijuana can also impair drivers, especially if they are combined with alcohol or other drugs.

City News Service contributed to this article.





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Ellen Bullock