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Local News

Holidays Bring More DUI Checkpoints Throughout Santa Barbara County

Law enforcement agencies are putting more officers on the road to look out for drivers under the influence

The message is simple: Don’t drink and drive, wear seat belts, and don’t drive while distracted.

Drivers can expect more DUI checkpoints during this holiday season, the California Highway Patrol announced at its annual DUI news conference Friday outside its Goleta office.

“We want everyone to remain safe while enjoying the holiday season,” said CHP Capt. Marty Maples.

Last year during the three-week holiday period, one person was killed, 14 people were injured, and 154 people were arrested in accidents related to DUIs in Santa Barbara County.

Sgt. Kevin Huddle of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said law enforcement usually sees an increase of DUIs during this time of the year, mainly because of holiday festivities.

Twelve law enforcement agencies in the county are collaborating in a project called “Avoid the12” to combat drunken driving. The project is supported by a $130,000 state grant to increase DUI enforcement and education throughout a year, ending in September 2013.

One measure taken is a 19-day enforcement period starting Friday and running through Jan. 1. According to Huddle, there will be a total of 29 checkpoints in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Goleta and Lompoc.

“You are going to see a lot more patrol cars and police motorcycles on the road,” Huddle said.

The CHP arrested 3,029 DUI drivers during 2011, an 11 percent increase from 2010.

There will be six checkpoints conducted in Santa Barbara, according to Capt. David Whitman of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

“Just remember, if you’re gonna be drinking and driving, we’re gonna be out there,” he said.

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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