Drunken-driving crackdown coming to Atwater

A holiday drunken-driving crackdown kicks off Saturday in Atwater.

A DUI checkpoint is scheduled that evening and motorists should anticipate additional police patrols on the streets, according to an Atwater Police Department news release.

“In addition to (DUI checkpoints), you will also see us making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period,” Lt. Sam Joseph said. “If we suspect anyone is driving while under the influence, officers will show zero tolerance for drunk or drugged driving.”

Nationally, from 2007 to 2011, there were 4,169 people killed during the month of December in crashes that involved intoxicated drivers. In California during that same period, 505 people were killed and thousands seriously injured.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the nation in 2011, and 31 percent of those fatalities occurred in drunken-driving-related crashes. Californians witnessed 2,835 deaths, with 774 killed in DUI crashes.

Motorists are encouraged to report suspected drunken drivers by calling 911.

Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

•  Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk – or worse, the risk of having a crash while driving.

•  If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.

•  If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

•  Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.

•  If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.