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L.A. County Drivers Were Extra Drunk This Christmas

Can't say we didn't warn you! A whopping 100 law-enforcement agencies across L.A. County were out in full force this Christmas weekend -- and for a week or so before, beginning December 16 -- keeping an eye out for wobbly drivers on their way home from a holiday drinkathon.

Either officers were hotter on their game than last year, or Angelenos were just drunker, because the "Avoid the 100" campaign clocked almost 250 more DUI arrests than it did during the same 10-day period last year.

That's about 1,500 drivers who couldn't walk the straight line. And the CHP's Christmas-weekend-specific numbers are even crazier:

Officer Ming Hsu says that from Friday at 6 p.m. to Monday at midnight, CHP officers made 201 DUI arrests -- more than double last year's total of 99. (And that doesn't include the numbers from the rest of the agencies involved in the "maximum enforcement" weekend.)

We asked Hsu whether we have the officers to thank, or a frightening surge in sloshy free-wheelin' to blame.

"A little bit of both," he says. "There are more drunk drivers out there, but at the same time more officers looking for them." (He didn't know if the actual number of officers had increased from 2010, but says they're pushed extra hard to be on the lookout 'round this time of year.)

Either way, no fatalities were reported over Christmas weekend as a result of drunk-driving accidents. So the 100 agencies involved are rightfully feeling pretty proud right now.

And it's not over yet:

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - Saturation Patrol from 5 PM to 1 AM in Olympic Area;

Friday, December 30, 2011 - Sobriety Checkpoint from 8 PM to 2 AM at Figueroa Street at 9th Street in Central Area;

Friday, December 30, 2011 - Sobriety Checkpoint from 8 PM to 2 AM at Van Nuys Boulevard at Haddon Avenue in Foothill Area;

Saturday, December 31, 2011 - Sobriety Checkpoint from 8 PM to 2 AM at Lincoln Boulevard at Maxella Avenue in Pacific Area; and,

Sunday, January 1, 2012 - DUI Saturation Patrol from 2 PM to 10 PM in Mission Area.

And here are some more spots to "avoid."

Seeing as New Year's is the cool (read: dumb) older sister to sweet little Christmas, we're guessing the second leg of the "Avoid the 100" crackdown will be even more ridiculous a roundup. Stay tuned.

And stay safe. Might we recommend the Metro? It's free! Or a party bus? It's damn expensive, and possibly rogue/permitless, but better than some sweaty overcrowded club, right? And certainly better than taking the wheel yourself. (See: above.)

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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