Fresno Police kicks off DUI patrol for Thanksgiving weekend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Laurie Pinheiro with MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, knows what it is like to lose a loved one to a drunk driver.

In 2009, her son-in-law Michael Haynes, a Montana Trooper lost his life after an intoxicated driver slammed into him.

"You do not want to be that family sitting, waiting for your loved ones to come, only to find out they are not going to come," said Pinheiro.

It is that same scenario Fresno Police are trying to prevent--to keep the streets safe this Thanksgiving through the rest of the holiday season, they will be enforcing saturation zones.

"What we do is we look at areas where there are high concentrations of alcohol bars and we put traffic enforcement officers there to circle the area," said Michael Reid Captain of the Fresno Police Department traffic unit. "It is not so much like a checkpoint, but within an area or confined area."

Alcohol is not the only thing that can get you in trouble with the law. Recreational marijuana and prescribed medicine can also impair your driving.

"Anytime that your ability to drive a car is diminished we want to make sure that you understand that that is part of the impaired driving laws and we can take enforcement action on that," said Reid.

DUI consequences can be steep, you can face a fine of at least $390, your car can be impounded for 30 days and you can even go to jail. Officers recommend people have a plan before they go out and enjoy the festivities.

"The best thing to do right now is designated drivers. said Reid. "If you are going out, just pick one person that is responsible, make sure they don't drink."

While there are many transportation options, police and MADD say only you have the power to be a responsible driver.

"Everyone says eat, drink and be Merry," said Pinheiro. "I like to say eat, drink and don't drive."
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