Law enforcement agencies throughout Riverside County will be ramping up patrols this weekend to nab Cinco de Mayo celebrants or anyone else who decides to drink and drive.
The county's Avoid the 30 task force, named for the number participating agencies, will conduct an anti-DUI campaign beginning Saturday evening and wrapping up shortly after midnight Monday.
Saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints are planned in Beaumont, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Palm Springs, Perris and Riverside, according to Riverside police Sgt. Skip Showalter, the Avoid coordinator.
The City of Murrieta will be conducting DUI saturations between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. May 4-5, according to a sergeant with the Murrieta Police Department.
"You should always designate a sober driver before the party begins," said Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz. "But, if you don't plan ahead, and you've been drinking, do not get behind the wheel. There are plenty of other alternatives that will keep you and others safe and out of trouble."
Partygoers have the option of calling a cab, using public transit or taking part in a sober ride program, according to Diaz.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 -- the latest year for which statistics were available -- 35 percent of crash fatalities that occurred on May 5 were alcohol-related.
A misdemeanor DUI conviction in California can result in fines up to $10,000, jail time and revocation of a driver's license. --City News Service