SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Fourth of July holiday is almost here and law enforcement will be cracking down on drunk drivers throughout the county.
San Diego Police and San Diego County sheriff's deputies will be on the roads and freeways in full force for “Operation Safeguard” starting Thursday. The operation will continue through the 4th of July weekend.
San Diegan's can expect heavy police presence, DUI checkpoint and patrols. During the 4th of July holiday, there is a spike in the number of drunk or intoxicated drivers on the roads. Police say substance abuse jumps during the holiday as well as the number of suicides, homicides, overdoses and domestic violence cases. According to authorities, twice as many drivers test positive for drugs over alcohol and 30% of fatal crash drivers were high in past 4th of July holidays.
"If you're high, it’s a DUI. Tragically, there are still 10,000 deaths every year across the United States involving alcohol or drug related crashes," says Steve Lykins, Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving San Diego.
Police will be using drug recognition experts to identify and convict drivers who are high on drugs. Serious cases will be handled by one prosecutor and one investigator to make sure impaired drivers face the harshest penalties.
"The San Diego Police Department along with all of our law enforcement partners will be conducting maximum enforcement targeting drunk drivers during the holiday," says San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.
Lifeguards also remind people to stay safe at the beaches and that operating a boat while impaired can lead to jail time.