Beginning Friday, law enforcement agencies throughout Riverside County will be ramping up patrols for a two-week crackdown on motorists driving under the influence and committing other violations.
The end-of-summer "Avoid the 30" campaign -- named for the number of police agencies involved -- will get under way at 6 p.m. Friday and continue to Sept. 3.
The effort is part of a national campaign -- "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," according to Riverside police Lt. Eric Charrette, the Avoid coordinator.
"On average, there is one alcohol-impaired driving fatality every 51 minutes across America," Charrette said. "This tragic loss of life can be reduced if we get impaired drivers off our roadways. Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign reduces alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent."
Countywide anti-DUI operations will coincide with the California Highway Patrol's "Maximum Enforcement Period," which is set for Labor Day weekend. During the MEP, 80 percent of the CHP's officers hit the streets to nab intoxicated motorists, speeders and other traffic violators.
During last year's two-week Avoid campaign, 762 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI, compared to 693 in 2010.
"We want to remind everyone that it is illegal to drive impaired, and we hope the campaign will remind people that if they plan on drinking, to never get behind the wheel," Charrette said. "If someone does choose to drive impaired, we will arrest them. No warnings. No excuses."
Cities included in the sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols are Beaumont, Coachella, Corona, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Norco, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Riverside, San Jacinto and Temecula.
Beaumont's multi-agency checkpoint will take place on Aug. 31. The location of the checkpoint is not yet known, according to a police spokesperson.