A countywide crackdown on drunken and drug-impaired motorists netted 242 arrests in the first six days of the operation, authorities announced today.
The end-of-summer "Avoid the 30" campaign—named for the number of police agencies involved—got under way Friday, and through Wednesday night, saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints were deployed in a number of locations, including Beaumont, Coachella, Moreno Valley, Norco, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage and Temecula.
The 242 drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI——compares to 232 arrested during the same stage of last year's Avoid campaign, according to Riverside police Lt. Eric Charrette, the Avoid coordinator.
He said three people have died in DUI-related collisions this week.
The Avoid program is part of a national campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
In the coming days, anti-DUI operations are planned in Blythe, Coachella, Hemet, Palm Desert and Murrieta.
The will take place from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday on Margarita Road at Torrey Pines Road.
The Avoid campaign will coincide with the California Highway Patrol's "Maximum Enforcement Period," which is set for Labor Day weekend. During the MEP, 80 percent of the CHP's officers hit the streets to nab intoxicated motorists, speeders and other traffic violators.
During last year's two-week Avoid campaign, 762 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI, compared to 693 in 2010.