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Anti-DUI Patrols to be out in full force this holiday weekend

St. Patricks DUI

PALM DESERT, Cali. - "Green beer, Irish car bombs, Guinness, you name it." Bartender Justin Moeller describes the seemingly endless options available for patrons on St. Patick's Day.
     With the holiday day weekend upon us valley bars, residents, and law enforcement are preparing for a busy couple of days.
     "We're going to have traditional Irish grub served here, we're going to have the bagpipe bands coming in, and it's going to be a good party time," Moeller says.
     It's the busiest day of the year for Schmidy's Tavern in Palm Desert, but it's also one of the busiest for anti-DUI patrols.
     Last year, checkpoints in Riverside County put more than 300 people behind bars on suspicion of driving under the influence.
     Between 2006 and 2010, more than 700 people died in DUI related wrecks across the county.
     This year, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department wants to prevent those crashes.
     So be sure to set a designated driver, or call a cab.
     "Always have a designated driver but if not, All American Cab is who I usually call yes. It's the safest way to go just in case," Scmidty's patron Ruthee Erickson tells us.
     "We usually go though either Yellow Cab or US Cab," Moeller says. "They're pretty reliable about that. St. Paddy's Day is one of the biggest days for them as well. So I tell our customers to let us know to call them a cab half an hour before they want to leave, just to give them plenty of time to get here."
     What's more, DUI checkpoints may soon have to adjust to new drinking times if a new state bill passes in the senate.
     The proposed bill would let cities and counties petition state alcohol regulators to allow service until 4 a.m.
     It's drawing some mixed opinions.
     "I think it's a great idea, I bartended in Vegas for 8 years," Moeller tells us. "Every night I have to kick people out at 2 AM who would love to stay for another 2 hours. I think it would be great for the communities economy."
     "By the time it's 2 o'clock, everyone is already drunk so why are you going to give them another two hours to get drunker, and make more horrible decisions than they're already making," Schmidy's patron Krystal tells us.
     No matter what your plans are this St. Patricks Day, just make sure to stay safe, and wear something green.
     "I don't liked to get pinched so I have green eyes so don't touch me," Erickson says.

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