Law enforcement sees spike in DUI arrests, collisions for Memorial Day weekend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This Memorial Day weekend promises to be a busy one for law enforcement across the Central Valley.

"We know that with the nice weather and family gatherings and people getting together, they are going to be having fun and that is what we want them to do," said Fresno police Sgt. Mark Keeney. "But we know that sometimes alcohol will be consumed at those and we just want people to be safe."

In Fresno, the police department is keeping an eye out for those driving under the influence through increased patrols.

Saturation and DUI checkpoints are helping to enforce safety.

"We know that anyone who drives through a checkpoint, that is going to sit in the back of their mind," Keeney said. "And they will think the next time they are out driving they might see another checkpoint."

Authorities say last Memorial Day 43 people were injured in alcohol-related crashes.

Only one day into the three day weekend, the California Highway Patrol is already seeing big numbers.

Within the first six hours of their maximum enforcement period, 346 people were arrested for driving under the influence across the state of California.

"We're hitting the streets, showing the paint so they say, and trying to catch that bad behavior before it, unfortunately, impacts people in a negative way," said CHP Sgt. Chris Webber.

Locally, Webber says they've made dozens of DUI arrests. DUI collisions are also up from normal weekends.

Rain in the forecast could make matters worse.

"(We) are hoping that people remember those roadways are wet, slow down," Webber said. "Increase your following distance, use your windshield wipers and makes sure your car is in good condition."

The police department says Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of California's 100 dangerous days of summer, giving law enforcement even more reason to ramp up patrols.

If you plan to go out and celebrate, you should have a plan to get home safely. This could include having a sober driver or using a ride sharing app.

If convicted of a DUI, you could be forced to pay up to $1,000.
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