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Auburn Police crackdown on holiday drunken driving

Avoid the 7 sponsors DUI checkpoints and patrols
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County law enforcement is scouting for drunk drivers this holiday season. Seven local law enforcement agencies, including the Auburn Police Department, are joining forces for a series of DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols. The grant-funded holiday DUI crackdown campaign, Avoid the 7, began Dec. 12 and will continue through New Year’s. “Being the holiday season it’s well-known that there is a lot more holiday get-togethers and parties, and there are alcoholic beverages available and some of them may indulge too much and perhaps decide to drive. Our job is to protect the public,” said Sgt. Michael Garlock of the Auburn Police Department. Garlock said even drivers who aren’t drinking should drive defensively to protect themselves from possible drunk drivers. “You need to be aware of weaving or following too closely,” Garlock said. “Take that extra few seconds at a green light to make sure the intersection is clear. There are a lot of last minute red light runners. Be thorough when you stop at stop signs.” Last year, 70 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs during the Avoid the 7 anti-DUI campaign in Placer County, according to California Avoid. That number was down from 89 arrests in 2009 and 117 in 2008. In 2008, there were two fatal DUI collisions. Garlock said avoiding thousands of dollars worth of fees, court dates and collisions is as simple as designating a driver or calling a cab. He said it’s important to realize feeling buzzed is a good indicator you are over the legal limit. “When you feel that buzzed feeling it’s a good indicator you are at .08,” Garlock said. Auburn’s DUI and driver’s license checkpoint is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 23. Victor Macy, who owns Sierra Cab in Auburn, said people should plan ahead if they think they may need a cab. “They need to make sure they put the cab number in their phone, so that when they need it they can find it,” Macy said. “On Friday and Saturday we usually have extra cabs out working.” For New Year’s Eve, Macy said reservations can be made for before midnight, but after that cabs are sent on a first come, first served basis. AAA is offering its Tipsy Tow program for drinking drivers in Northern California from 6 p.m. on Dec. 24, until 6 a.m. on Dec. 26, and from 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. AAA members and non-members can call for a free tow of up to 10 miles. “Just tell the AAA operator, ‘I need a Tipsy Tow,’ and a truck will be on its way,” said AAA Northern California Spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “Service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and his or her vehicle to the driver’s home.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.