SLO police plan extra DUI patrols on St. Patrick's Day

mfountain@thetribunenews.comMarch 14, 2014 

Marco Aburashed, left, of Mo Tav talks to San Luis Obispo police Officer Russ Griffith outside the bar on St. Patrick's Day in 2010.

JAYSON MELLOM — jmellom@thetribunenews.com

With St. Patrick’s Day only days away, San Luis Obispo is warning drivers and weekend revelers to celebrate responsibly.

According to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, the Avoid the 14 DUI Task Force will be deploying four mobile DUI patrols on Monday in different areas throughout the city, looking for impaired drivers. These units are in addition to regularly scheduled patrol officers.

“Drunk driving is dangerous, deadly and against the law — and it will not be tolerated in communities this St. Patrick’s Day,” Chief Stephen Gesell said in a news release. “Today we are giving fair warning to everyone traveling in San Luis Obispo County that our law enforcement officers will be out on patrol and if you are caught driving drunk, you will be arrested.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 269 people died nationwide in crashes involving drunken drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2007 to 2011. Additionally, the NHTSA reports that two-fifths of all deaths in crashes between 2006 and 2010 during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend involved a drunken driver.

The city’s DUI Task Force is funded through a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the NHTSA.

San Luis Obispo police Sgt. Jeff Booth also said that the city will issue citations according to its “Safety Enhancement Zone” ordinance, which doubles fines for public urination, noise, alcohol-related offenses, from 12:01 a.m. Monday through 7 a.m. Tuesday.

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