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SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Law enforcement agencies from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County will have additional patrol officers on the roads this St. Patrick’s weekend.

There will be St. Patty’s Day celebrations up and down the Central Coast at universities such as California State University Channel Islands, University of California Santa Barbara and California State Polytechnic University.

The Santa Maria Police Department said it will be on alert for suspected impaired drivers. Officers want to remind the community to celebrate responsibly by designating a sober driver.

The Santa Maria Police Department will conduct a driving under the influence (DUI) Checkpoint March 16, 2024, from 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. at an undisclosed location.

Santa Maria PD, Sergeant Jason Zickuhr said he wants people to celebrate responsibly. “St. Patrick’s Day is a time for celebration, but it’s important to celebrate responsible.. Designating a sober driver before the festivities begin can save lives. It’s a simple way to make sure everyone traveling on our roads gets home safely,” said Sgt. Zickuhr.

Officers also want the community to know illegal drugs, marijuana, prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs could also impair driving and will result in a DUI offense.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported St. Patrick’s Day as one of the deadliest holidays on our nation’s roads. More than 13,384 preventable deaths throughout 2021 involved drunk driving, representing 31% of all traffic fatalities in the United States that year. Over the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, specifically, 47 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S.

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