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KCBS Cover Story: Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Cracking Down On Drunk Drivers

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SANTA CLARA (KCBS) — Law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area are cracking down on drunk driving throughout this holiday season.

In Santa Clara County, the Sheriff’s Office is once again taking part in what’s known as “Avoid the 13″—the annual holiday DUI crackdown.

“Due to the holiday season, there are a lot of parties usually, more chances we end up coming in contact with them,” Don Morrissey, president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association for Santa Clara County, said.

“Contact” means being pulled over by a peace officer, and more than likely being asked to do a variety of tests to determine the driver’s level intoxication.

“Field sobriety evaluations could be a standing leg raise test to check your balance also coupled with a line walk test,” Morrissey said.

And of course, there is the breathalyzer test.

If there’s enough evidence, Morrissey said the driver arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence and taken to a county holding facility—commonly referred to as the drunk tank.

“They are large concrete rooms with a rubberized floor that have open-bay commodes and you’re a sardine in there, depending on how many individuals come in,” Lance Scimeca, President of the County Correctional Peace Officers Association, said.

Scimeca said that the tank is cleaned twice per shift but that the strong odor really never dissipates.

“It’s not a pleasant experience; it’s not a great place to stay,” he said.

The typical duration for a stay is usually about five hours long, after which the driver is released with a court date.

The average DUI case can end up costing between $7,000 and $10,000.

But Morrissey said that a drunk driver should be thankful for such an experience rather than possibly causing a serious or fatal accident.

“The lasting effects of making a bad decision, of buzzed driving, or driving intoxicated can be great and can have a ripple effect on the community for years to come,” he said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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