51 arrested for DUI in SLO County during the holiday season

Officers from around San Luis Obispo County arrested more than 50 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the holiday season, according to a spokesman for the Avoid the 14 campaign.

However, the number of arrests dropped this year compared to the previous year, said Arroyo Grande police Cmdr. Chuck Gerhart.

Officers from 14 county law enforcement agencies arrested 51 people from Dec. 17 through midnight Saturday. In 2009, 76 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence during the same 16-day period.

No one was killed in DUI-related vehicle collisions during the 2 ½-week holiday campaign, though seven people were injured in DUI-related collisions, Gerhart said.

During last year’s campaign, one person was killed and seven others injured in alcohol-related collisions.

The Avoid the 14 program is composed of law enforcement agencies in the county and funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The participating agencies are the police departments in the county's seven cities, the county Sheriff's Department, the CHP, the University Police Department at Cal Poly, the Cuesta College Police Department, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and California State Parks at Hearst Castle and Oceano Dunes.

-- Cynthia Lambert