Officers cracking down on drunk driving across Central Valley

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Labor day weekend may be considered the unofficial end of summer, but it's also considered one of the most dangerous times on the roadway. (KFSN)

All enforcement agencies throughout the Central Valley are raising awareness to keep our roadways safe this holiday weekend.

Labor Day weekend may be considered the unofficial end of summer, but it's also considered one of the most dangerous times on the roadway.

"Every year we see needless traffic fatalities accidents and DUI-related activity," Sgt. Damon Maurice with the Visalia Police Department said. "It's just a poor choice."

Whether you're heading to the lake or celebrating in town with family and friends, law enforcement agencies nationwide are ramping up efforts to keep you safe from drunk drivers.

"Not only is it an enforcement action it acts as a visual deterrent and an education piece for the public," Maurice said.

In the south valley, it's the Avoid the 18 campaign, where 18 law enforcement agencies covering Kings and Tulare counties deploy sobriety and drivers license checkpoints. The campaign runs for 3 weeks.

"One drunk driving arrest off the roadway is a potential life we have saved," Maurice said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of more than 10,000 people die each year from 2010 to 2014 in drunk-driving crashes nationwide. Almost 900 of those were in California.

So far, Visalia Police have recorded 15 DUI arrests during this year's campaign and that's already two more than last year. Law enforcement agencies covering the Fresno-Madera area Avoid the 21 campaign said they're on par to surpass their numbers as well.

"We do it because it saves lives, that is proven throughout the years," Axel Reyes with the California Highway Patrol said. "Right now, they're at a hundred arrests."

This is compared to last year's 181 arrests between the 21 agencies covering the two counties. The "Avoid" grant cycle is provided by the Office of Transportation Safety and ends this September. It will be up to individual agencies to apply for grants to continue this concentrated campaign when the new opportunities come out in October.

"Grant or no grant, DUI is one of our main focuses out there," Reyes said. "And that's something we will continue, and, not just us, other agencies will continue to enforce the DUI laws."

The cost of a DUI can total more than $10,000, the possible loss of your license and even jail time.
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drunk drivingDUIfresno countytulare countyFresno County
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