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DUI Crackdown

Extra law enforcement officers are patrolling the Central Valley this holiday season to try and reduce the number of drunk driving crashes.
All across the valley extra law enforcement officers are out on the streets cracking down on drunk drivers.

It's all part of the Avoid the 21 Winter Holiday Campaign which kicked off December 13th.  Since then it has netted 114 DUI arrests.  That's up from last year at this time when there were 96 DUI arrests.  21 law enforcement agencies in Fresno and Madera Counties participate in this operation.

As officer Joe Ploharz patrols Fresno's streets for drunk drivers, he's keeping his eyes out for hazardous violations.

"Someone speeding, running a stop sign, running a stop light, swerving within their lane, swerving in opposite lanes," said officer Joe Ploharz, Fresno Police Dept.
     
Eyewitness news rode along as he stopped a car for not having a front license plate.  The driver checks out clean, but it could have easily lead to bigger things.

"You never know, I would say I get more DUIs on your random stop than actually going out looking for them.  Sometimes you look so hard it doesn't workout.  You stop them for a mechanical violation and there you go," said Ploharz.
     
Next up was a traffic backup on Huntington Blvd.  A family looking at christmas lights caused everyone to drive five miles an hour.  However, the real problem is the driver only has an ID card; no license.

A check of records shows it's suspended for a prior DUI.

"That in itself is satisfying knowing you got a potential future offender off the road for the night.  His car will be impounded and he will be cited and released," said Ploharz.
     
As the holiday celebrations continue police are not saying don't drink.  Just do so responsibly.

"Make a plan ahead of time so you don't get in a predicament where you make a bad decision.  Killing somebody, killing a family member, killing someone else's family member and spend the rest of your life in jail," said Ploharz.

DUI checkpoints will run throughout the weekend and up through new year's eve.

You can help police catch drunk drivers too.  If you see someone driving erratically, report it by calling 911.
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