DUI checkpoints planned for San Diego County

SAN DIEGO - Starting Friday, San Diego County police departments plan to stage checkpoints to catch holiday revelers who choose to drink and drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Police officers in El Cajon scheduled a checkpoint from about 6 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Saturday in an effort to reduce the number of people injured or killed in alcohol- or drug-related crashes and to ensure that drivers had valid licenses, according to Monica Zech, the city's public information officer.

By publicizing the enforcement and education efforts, police believe motorists could be deterred from drunken or drugged driving, Zech said.

The Escondido Police Department will also conduct a checkpoint later Friday, EPD Lt. Tom Albergo said.

Seven people were killed and 234 were injured in drunken driving crashes in Escondido over the past three years, according to Albergo.

"DUI checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed since 2006 in California," Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, said. "But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one-third of traffic fatalities, Escondido needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that checkpoints provide."

The San Diego Police Department's Traffic Unit planned checkpoints from 9 p.m. Saturday until 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and again starting at 9 p.m. Monday at undisclosed locations within the city, according to San Diego police Officer Mark McCullough.

"Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 60 lives and resulted in 2,518 injury crashes harming 4,992 of our friends and neighbors," McCullough said, adding checkpoints' deterrent effect was a proven resource in reducing the number of people injured or killed in alcohol- or drug- related crashes.

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