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Sacramento police to launch ‘saturation’ patrols during Super Bowl

Sacramento police set up a DUI checkpoint at 5th and L streets near Downtown Plaza in August 2012. Police will be on the lookout Sunday for drivers who are under the influence.
Sacramento police set up a DUI checkpoint at 5th and L streets near Downtown Plaza in August 2012. Police will be on the lookout Sunday for drivers who are under the influence. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento police are issuing a sober warning this weekend to Super Bowl partyers: Officers will be out in full force Sunday on what police call “saturation” patrols, looking for drivers who are under the influence.

“The department will deploy additional officers on special DUI saturation patrol specifically to stop and arrest drivers showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment during and following the game,” police said in a press statement.

That may not be the case, though, on Sacramento’s freeways.

California Highway Patrol officials say a number of local patrol officers have been assigned to work in the Bay Area this weekend, especially on roads to and from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the site of the Super Bowl. Protesters shut down the Bay Bridge briefly a few weeks ago, prompting some concerns that groups may try to disrupt traffic this weekend when the national spotlight is on the Bay Area.

“We’re going to have a special response team from Sacramento to enhance security” in the Bay Area, local CHP spokesman Mike Bradley said. “But we will still have patrols here in Sacramento. No units will be taken off the regular beat, just not as many extra patrols as we usually have” on Super Bowl day.

For those headed to the Bay Area this weekend, the CHP has created a special travel website: www.SuperBowl50Traffic.com.

CHP officials advised caution when driving Sunday, asking people to plan intelligently.

“Drunk driving is one of the most serious traffic-related issues we face today,” Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a CHP alert. “Plan ahead to avoid a tragedy. Leave your car keys at home if you will be consuming alcoholic beverages, and use public transportation, a designated driver or a ride-sharing service to stay safe.”

Drunken driving deaths – nearly 10,000 in 2014 – account for nearly one-third of national roadway fatalities, federal transportation safety officials said. Deaths typically spike on weekends. Traffic safety officials say they are seeing increasing numbers of people who are impaired by drugs. They warn that alcohol can intensify impairment for people taking prescription drugs.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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