SLO County law agencies take steps to curb drunken driving

Law enforcement officials from 14 agencies in San Luis Obispo County are launching a special effort this holiday season to stop impaired drivers on local roadways.

As part of the county’s Avoid the 14 campaign, officers and deputies will aggressively look for impaired drivers and arrest anyone caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Efforts include two DUI checkpoints, a DUI warrant and probations sweep, and 12 extra enforcement patrols.

In addition, the CHP will deploy all available officers during Christmas and New Year’s weekends. The enforcement period will start today and go through Jan. 1.

“There are simply no excuses for risking the lives of others by getting behind the wheel when your ability to control a vehicle is diminished,” San Luis Obispo police Chief Steve Gesell said in a news release. “Identify a designated driver ahead of time if you plan on drinking.”

During 2010, more than 10,000 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle traffic incidents involving an impaired driver, according to a news release from the Avoid the 14 campaign.

In California, 791 people died — 17 in San Luis Obispo County — that year.

During December 2010, 30 percent of all fatalities in traffic collisions involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Law enforcement officials encourage people who are impaired to call a taxi, a friend or a family member, or call Ride-On at 541-8747.

Anyone who sees an impaired driver should call 911.