Law enforcement officers will be out in force this Memorial Day holiday weekend around the county, with beefed-up patrols and checkpoints, in a campaign to make sure motorists are driving sober and are properly licensed.
At 6 p.m., the California Highway Patrol will begin a "Maximum Enforcement Period'' statewide, with all available officers on patrol. The enforcement effort continues through 11:59 p.m. Monday.
"If you are celebrating the Memorial Day holiday, we want you to have fun and be safe,'' CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. "If you get behind the wheel, make sure you buckle up, and ensure your passengers do the same. Wearing your seat belt can save your life and the lives of those you love.''
Over the Memorial Day weekend in 2011, 24 people died in traffic crashes statewide; and there were 1,367 DUI arrests statewide in the CHP's jurisdiction.
The "Avoid the 100'' DUI Campaign in Los Angeles County includes numerous law enforcement agencies, coordinating with extra patrols and checkpoints. The enforcement effort is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Los Angeles Police Department's Olympic Station started saturation patrols at 6 p.m. Thursday. Extra officers hit the streets to specifically look for drunken drivers, according to LAPD Officer Don Inman.
A checkpoint will be operated on Vermont Avenue between Pico Boulevard and 12th Street in the Pico-Union district from about 7 p.m. tonight until about 3 a.m. Saturday.
Another checkpoint will be operated on Manchester Avenue between Hoover and Figueroa streets in South Los Angeles beginning about 8 p.m. tonight.
A drunken driving/license checkpoint will be operated on Sherman Way between Sepulveda Boulevard and Orion Avenue in North Hollywood beginning about 8 p.m. Saturday.
Officers assigned to the Hollenbeck Station will begin a saturation patrol on the city's Eastside about 8 p.m. Sunday.
Under a relatively new LAPD policy, people found driving without valid licenses may be allowed to let a licensed driver take the vehicle instead of it being towed and impounded. Drivers who have their vehicles towed may be eligible to pick them up from a police impound lot as early as the next day, rather than 30 days.