The holiday season may be a time for celebrating for most, but for hundreds arrested on the suspicion of driving under the influence in Santa Clara County, there’s a little less to celebrate.
From Dec. 16 2011 through midnight of Jan. 1, 2012, officers from various agencies patrolling the roads arrested 375 individuals for DUI, fewer than the 475 DUI arrested from 2010’s holiday crackdown, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office.
Although there were no DUI-related deaths, one DUI related traffic collision resulted in an injury in Gilroy Dec. 31.
The winter holiday enforcement campaign called “Avoid the 13” is an annual effort through the sheriff’s office, California Highway Patrol and more than a dozen law enforcement departments to crack down on impaired motorists during the holiday season.
Morgan Hill Police Department reported two DUI arrests for New Year’s Eve, a festive night with a rise in DUI incidents because of the higher tendency for people to consume alcohol, said Sgt. Chad Gallacinao of the Gilroy Police Department in December.
For the first nine days of this year’s holiday campaign, MHPD arrested 18 people on suspicion of DUI, according to MHPD.
The 17-day winter holiday campaign deploys extra officers on evening and weekends and places DUI checkpoints throughout the county.
A DUI checkpoint was scheduled for Morgan Hill from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m near the intersection of Tennant Avenue and Caputo Drive to check licenses and sobriety on Dec. 29. A total of nine officers were stationed at the check point.
For the final night of the campaign, extra DUI saturation patrols were deployed in Morgan Hill, San Jose, Mountain View, Los Altos and Cupertino. The CHP also had extra officers during the holiday weekend.
Another ‘Avoid the 13’ taskforce will send out more patrols during Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, this year. Funding for these programs is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Morgan Hill averages two to three checkpoints a year with officers arresting between one to five DUI offenders each time, according to MHPD.
Morgan Hill final numbers were unavailable as of press time.