Law enforcement crackdown on holiday drunk drivers - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Law enforcement crackdown on holiday drunk drivers

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) -  If you're planning on drinking and driving this New Year's Eve, think again. Local law enforcement will be out in full force this holiday weekend, making sure drunk drivers are taken off our roadways.

In 2001, Nina Walker's daughter was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

"One of the reasons I became involved in MADD is that I don't want her death to be in vain," Nina said.

Nina has been frustrated that on average in 2009, two people in the county die every week in drunk driving crashes.

"It was an awful year," Nina said.

It was an even worse December. The sheriff's department tells us in the final two weeks in 2008, there were 381 DUI arrests. In 2009, that number has soared to 641.

"It's disturbing, more disturbing that we seem to be seeing a rise in under the age of 21 drunk drivers right now," Sgt. Rothlein said.

Law enforcers say throughout the holiday weekend they'll be tapping into some major state funding that will put 100 extra officers on the roads and pay for ongoing saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

"If you are an impaired driver and you are stopped by one of my officers you will go to jail," Sgt. Jason Rothlein said.

Effective Wednesday night, because the jail population is below average, if drunk driving suspects are unable to post bail, they'll say in jail for days.

"You will stay in custody until probably Wednesday of next week. Tomorrow is a holiday," Sgt. Rothlein said.

To deter drunk driving, MTS is offering free rides on bus routes and trolley lines all night long. It's the responsible choice a drunk driver failed to make eight years ago, the night Ginger Walker was killed.

"My heart will forever have a hole in it, a void my grandson who is now 12 doesn't have his mother to nurture him, to watch him play sports, to watch him grow," Nina said. "The pain changes, but it does not go away."

According to police, drunk drivers face up to $20,000 in court and legal fees these days.

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