Local anti-DUI operation results in 695 arrests

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A two-week countywide crackdown on suspected drunken and drug-impaired motorists netted 695 arrests, authorities reported today.

The end-of-summer Riverside County Avoid the 30 campaign -- named for the number of police agencies involved -- got under way on Aug. 16 and went through Labor Day.

Saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints were deployed in a number of locations, including Banning, Beaumont, Corona, La Quinta, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Norco, Palm Springs, Perris, Rancho Mirage, Riverside and Temecula.

The nearly 700 motorists arrested on suspicion of DUI compare to 710 arrested during last summer's Avoid campaign -- a roughly 2 percent drop -- according to Riverside police Lt. Mark Rossi, the Avoid coordinator.

Three people were killed and 30 were injured in DUI-related collisions during the crackdown, Rossi said.

Last year, there were also three alcohol-related deaths and nearly two dozen injuries, he said.

The Avoid operation was part of a national campaign, ``Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.'' It coincided with the California Highway Patrol's Labor Day Weekend ``Maximum Enforcement Period,'' during which all available officers hit the streets to nab intoxicated motorists, speeders and other traffic violators.

Additional Avoid operations are planned on Halloween, Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

The campaigns are funded by state and federal grants.

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