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Area DUI arrests dip over holiday weekend

Both fatalities and drunken driving arrests decreased over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the California Highway Patrol.

In the Inland Empire, there were 120 drunken driving arrests during the Thanksgiving weekend, down from 171 DUI arrests last year, according to CHP spokesperson Joaquin Zubieta. Crash fatalities dropped from two last year to one this year.

Zubieta credits the increased safety in part to maximum enforcement, explaining that 80 percent of the CHP’s force was on duty over the weekend.

Officers concentrated specifically on the primary collision factors of speed and driving under the influence.

From 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Sunday, CHP arrested 1,210 people for DUIs statewide, 140 fewer than last year. Fatalities increased statewide, however, with 10 more this year than last year for a total of 31 fatalities.

Beyond increased enforcement, Zubieta also believes the CHP’s outreach program in the Inland Empire has deceased DUI arrests by increasing awareness.

“The designated driver is not the person who has the least to drink,” Zubieta said. “The designated driver is the person who does not drink at all.”

The CHP plans similar operations at Christmas and New Year’s weekends. The High Desert weather is unpredictable, and Zubieta notes that the mild weather could change by Christmas.

“We have snow and rain, which creates black ice,” Zubieta said. “You don’t need alcohol to make things worse. Don’t drink and drive.”

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