LOS ANGELES, CA – The California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Police Department will be out in force Thursday to crack down on drunk St. Patrick’s Day revelers.
DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols are planned throughout the county.
“Have a game plan before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Robert Hill. “Designate a sober driver or make other plans to get home safely.”
During the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, nearly half of all road deaths across the country involved a drunk driver, according to the sheriff’s department.
“Alcohol isn’t the only substance that can cause impairment,” Hill said. “Cannabis, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal drugs can all lead to a DUI.”
Hill urged anyone seeing a suspected intoxicated motorist to call 911.
“If you’re planning on drinking alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day, don’t rely on luck…use a ride-sharing service, public transportation, or a taxi to ensure you reach your destination safely” added CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Failing to have a plan in place if your celebration includes the consumption of alcohol could result in an accident, jail time, injury or even death.”
According to Ray, last year on St. Patrick’s Day, three people were killed and 76 injured in DUI crashes statewide. For comparison, in 2020, 31 people were injured due to drunk driving, but there were no fatalities, according to statistics.
In the jurisdiction of the CHP, 211 people were arrested on suspicion of impaired driving during St. Patrick’s Day 2021.
Officials noted that an impaired driving conviction can result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges, fines of up to $10,000 and possible jail time or jail time if injuries or deaths result from a collision.
Funding for the additional patrols was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
City and Patch News Service member Paige Austin contributed to this report.