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December 13, 2011 > 'Avoid the 21'

'Avoid the 21'

Submitted By Jan Ford

A 200-officer DUI strike team will hit the roads on Friday night, December 16, Alameda police will hold a checkpoint on Saturday night, and a 25-officer task force that will go after Oakland Raiders fans who drink and drive after the game with the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

"And that's just the first weekend of Avoid the 21's 17-day crackdown on impaired drivers," said Livermore police Lt. Ava Garavatti, campaign coordinator.

"Our Friday night team will hold its briefing and advanced training at the Livermore Community Center, then fan out to find, test and arrest DUI suspects through early Saturday morning, concentrating on Fremont, Newark and Union City," she remarked.

The crackdown ends at midnight on New Year's Day and also features other checkpoints, 69 in-city saturation patrols, six days of freeway saturation by four area commands of the California Highway Patrol and the anti-DUI efforts of many hundreds of officers and deputies on regular beats.

Avoid the 21 runs the most enforcement-heavy crackdown in the nine-county Bay Area, according to Garavatti. It reported 748 DUI arrests in last year's crackdown, a 17 percent drop from the same time in 2009 and a 41 percent plunge from the 2008 winter campaign.

"It certainly looks like people are getting the message about always driving sober," she remarked. "If you don't drive sober, we'll pull you over."

In the 13 years since Avoid the 21's 1998 founding, police officers, deputy sheriffs and CHP officers have brought in 11,397 DUI suspects in the winter campaigns alone. "That's more than the entire population of Piedmont," Garavatti commented.

The California Office of Traffic Safety funds Avoid the 21 and 38 other similar countywide crackdowns through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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