Local authorities are sending out a holiday message that should be loud and clear: If you drink, don’t drive.
Since authorities began cracking down on DUI arrests on December 18, officers have arrested 118 people for allegedly driving under the influence in Santa Barbara County, and officials warn that they will be swarming the roads to keep people safe this New Year’s weekend.
Checkpoints will be set up Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Santa Maria, while another will take place in Santa Barbara on New Year’s Eve. CHP officers will also be out in force to make sure drunken drivers are not traveling on Highway 101, which has seen a rash of alleged wrong-way, DUI drivers this past year.
Santa Barbara police had checkpoints set up at Bath Street as well as West Cabrillo Boulevard on Sunday, and arrested one person for a suspected DUI. They also apprehended 10 people for driving without a valid driver’s license and/or a suspended license, and towed 10 vehicles away. The department evaluated 13 drivers out of 220 that passed through the checkpoints for sobriety.
Meanwhile, a court sting operation in Santa Barbara resulted in one man being arrested. After appearing in court, where a judge suspended his license, the man walked to the parking lot at Figueroa and Chapala streets, where he got into his car and began to drive away. He was arrested and his car impounded.
Authorities are also cracking down in Ventura, where a women with five previous DUI arrests in as many years was arrested Saturday for allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol that was twice the legal limit. Stepped up enforcement will continue in Ventura County through the holiday as well.