On Thursday, March 23, 2017, a drama unfolded during “Every 15 Minutes,” a life-like simulation at Natomas High School designed to warn the school’s juniors and seniors about the dangers of drinking and driving. “Every 15 Minutes” is funded by a g McClatchy @SacFirePIO
On Thursday, March 23, 2017, a drama unfolded during “Every 15 Minutes,” a life-like simulation at Natomas High School designed to warn the school’s juniors and seniors about the dangers of drinking and driving. “Every 15 Minutes” is funded by a g McClatchy @SacFirePIO

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Get a lift, or a Lyft: Law enforcement agencies look to cut down holiday DUIs

By Cathy Locke

clocke@sacbee.com

December 14, 2017 05:44 PM

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, and area law enforcement agencies are stepping up activities to keep impaired drivers off the road.

At least one agency is partnering with the ride-share company Lyft to promote safe rides.

Beginning Friday and continuing through New Year’s Day, officers will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols as part of a crackdown on motorists driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

They cite national statistics to illustrate the impact of impaired driving: Last year, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and about 28 percent, or 10,497, died in crashes in which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08. California reported 1,059 DUI deaths at .08 or above, according to agency news releases.

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Law enforcement officials urge holiday celebrants to avoid becoming a DUI statistic by taking steps to make sure they don’t drink and drive.

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that it is partnering with the ride-share app company Lyft. Through Jan. 1, Lyft will provide discounted rides throughout the Sacramento region, including El Dorado, Placer and Sacramento counties, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release. New users can enter the code RIDESAFE2018 in the app for $5 off their first 10 rides, and existing users can claim 10 percent off two rides with the code RIDESAFECA.

“Thanks to the ever evolving and innovative methods of ride sharing in today’s high-tech world, there is no excuse for impaired driving,” El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said in a written statement. “My office is committed not only to protecting the public by aggressively prosecuting those who drink and drive, but also trying to help prevent the devastating impact of these crimes by encouraging use of new emerging tech applications.”

Law enforcement agencies also encourage drivers to download the Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP”, free mobile app for Android or iPhone. The app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that offer free incentives for the designated sober driver, such as free non-alcoholic drinks and free appetizers.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy