SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Police and other public safety officials Thursday will launch a countywide effort to prevent alcohol-related deaths and injuries and to curb underage drinking over the Independence Day weekend.
The four-day effort called "Operation Safeguard" is set to include sobriety checkpoints, roving DUI patrols and stepped-up enforcement of the social-host laws that hold a party's host accountable for underage drinking, according to San Diego police.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, county Undersheriff Ed Prendergast, other public safety officials and a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving will give a briefing to announce the start of the campaign at 10:30 a.m. at Ventura Cove.
Police officials said local communities typically see a spike in drunken driving and other alcohol-related injuries and deaths around the Fourth of July holiday. In the three days around and including Independence Day from 2008 to
2012, 54 alcohol-related deaths were reported, according to police citing statistics compiled by the county Medical Examiner's Office. Of the 54, 15 involved drunken driving and 21 were related to falls, alcohol poisoning or other accidental overdoses of a mix of alcohol and drugs, authorities said.
Police said underage drinking also increases during the summer. Law enforcement officers said they plan to "aggressively enforce" social-host laws that bar adults and minors from throwing parties where underage drinking takes place.
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"It is sad that 14 years later people are still being smuggled in tractor-trailers," he said. "There still isn't water, there still isn't ventilation. These criminal organizations, they're all about making money."