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Checkpoints to Stay in Murrieta

A Riverside County-wide task force has again been awarded grant money to combat DUI drivers, it was announced this week.

Anti-DUI operations in Murrieta and the rest of Riverside County will be fully funded for another year thanks to a $385,000 state grant, it was announced Thursday.

The California Office of Traffic Safety awarded the funds in support of the county's "Avoid the 30" task force, comprised of 30 law enforcement agencies that operate within the county, often conducting simultaneous operations to crack down on motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Along with the Murrieta Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and all municipal police agencies in the county, the UC Riverside Police Department, Riverside Community College Police Department, California Highway Patrol, California State Parks Service and California Alcohol Beverage Control Department participate in Avoid the 30.

The term "avoid" derives from the campaign's goal of encouraging people to obey the law so they can avoid being arrested.

"Avoid (has) been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed from 2006 to 2010 in California," said OTS Director Christopher Murphy. "But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one- third of traffic fatalities, Riverside County needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that this grant will provide."

Avoid operations include driver's license and sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and other deployments.

Extra and overtime staffing can be necessary for operations. the largest number of which occur during holiday periods and special events.

The next major Avoid campaign is scheduled during the last two weeks of the year. The 2011 holiday season operations netted 682 arrests -- a 30 percent jump from the first Avoid the 30 holiday season campaign in 2008.

The Riverside Police Department has been the grant administrator since operations got under way in 2008.

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