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Orange County Focus

Countywide : Pulling Out the Stops on Drinking Drivers

December 29, 1990|MARY ANNE PEREZ

Several law enforcement agencies plan to set up sobriety checkpoints in hope of taking drunk drivers off the road during the New Year's holiday weekend.

Sheriff's deputies will set up a checkpoint in Laguna Niguel tonight on Street of the Golden Lantern between Marina Hills Drive and Hidden Hills Road. Garden Grove police will set up checkpoints at two undisclosed locations from tonight until New Year's Day. The California Highway Patrol plans to operate one checkpoint at an undisclosed location tonight.

One day last weekend, Garden Grove police saw 1,100 cars pass through a checkpoint without making an arrest, Lt. Bill Dalton said.

"It's obvious that these (checkpoints) are working," Dalton said.

Signs are posted along roads to alert drivers that a checkpoint has been set up. Drivers have a chance to turn off at a cross street before coming to the checkpoint, said Sheriff's Lt. Joe Davis of Laguna Niguel.

If traffic is heavy, officers may stop every 15th car or so, he said. More cars are stopped if traffic is light.

At a checkpoint on Crown Valley Parkway on Dec. 14, officers stopped 889 cars of 1,690 that passed through, Davis said.

Many times, officers encounter people who have been selected as the designated sober driver for the evening and are ferrying passengers who have had too much to drink. "The sobriety checkpoints really are a deterrence factor," Davis said.

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