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Holiday Drunk-Driving Crackdown Begins


'Tis the season to be jolly, but go easy on the spiked eggnog if you're driving.

That's the message from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and law enforcement officials across Orange County, who are increasing patrols to crack down on drunk drivers.

Dozens of drunk-driving arrests--but no injuries--were logged Friday and Saturday, and authorities are hoping it won't get any worse as New Year's Eve draws closer. Some officials are especially concerned because the holidays fall on weekends this year.

"Let's get through this time of the year without any fatalities," said Bill Neessen, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Orange County. "Don't drink and drive. Pick a designated driver before you go out."

The Irvine Police Department arrested about 15 motorists on suspicion of driving under the influence Friday night and about 10 others the night before, officials said.

The California Highway Patrol arrested about two dozen motorists and had more than 40 reports of drunk drivers phoned in, said CHP dispatcher David Aguire.

Sgt. Fred Heinecke of Newport Beach Police Department said authorities aren't trying to be Scrooge--they're just trying to prevent fatalities.

"People drink around the holidays more than they should," Heinecke said. "And then some of them drive. In recent years, we've seen a decrease in fatalities and drunk driving because of MADD and awareness of the problem, but there are people out there who still do it."

Many law enforcement agencies said they had plans for drunk-driving checkpoints and increase road patrols, but declined to provide details.

"It's something that we'll be doing because of the holidays, through the new year," said La Habra Police Department Sgt. Ron Harryman.

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