Merced law enforcement agencies announce holiday DUI enforcement

Merced County law enforcement agencies announced Friday they'll be paying special attention to area roadways over the next few weeks, on the lookout for drivers who may have partied a little too hard at those holiday gatherings.

Starting today, 11 agencies around the county will conduct extra patrols looking for drunken drivers. The increased enforcement, which include strategically placed DUI checkpoints, will last until Jan. 2.

According to Merced Police Sgt. Jay Struble, there were 753 people killed nationwide (57 in California) in DUI-related crashes in December 2009.

Merced police suggest using the following tips:

- Plan a safe way home before festivities begin.

- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.

- If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

- If you see an impaired driver on the road, call local law enforcement or dial 911.

- If you think a friend has had too much to drink, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.

-- Posted by Brandon Bowers