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Sacramento Police Crack Down on Impaired Driving During Holiday Weekend

SACRAMENTO -- Police across the region have been kicking off the holiday weekend by cracking down on impaired drivers.

At the Sacramento Police Department's checkpoint Friday night officers said it was not just about catching drunk drivers, it was about raising awareness.

One by one Sacramento police officers walked up to the cars on 65th and Broadway with the same question, "Have you had any alcoholic beverages to consume this evening?"

Sometimes a joke or two was had.

"Have you had any alcoholic beverages to consume this evening? Has your dog?" asked a Sacramento Police officer.

Laughs aside, the officers were looking for something specific. They are trained to figure out if a driver has been drinking or doing drugs.

"Changes in speech, sometimes people will have slurred speech," said Sgt. Matt Armstrong. "It's their reaction time, reaction to questions, the way they answer questions. They're looking at their eyes, watery eyes, redness in their eyes."

Days before recreational marijuana becomes legal in California, many officers were also looking for drivers who have been smoking.

"We have a lot of officers that do have that training," Armstrong said. "Training to recognize impairment -- marijuana, prescription drugs, other drugs. But we're trying to put more and more of our officers through that training."

Sgt. Armstrong says before going out this holiday season, plan to take Uber, Lyft, or catch a taxi or ask a sober friend.

The police department says they also look for drivers trying to go around the checkpoints.

There were at least three DUI checkpoints in the Sacramento area Friday evening, including the one in Sacramento, one in West Sacramento and another in Rancho Cordova. CHP is also doing enhanced enforcement throughout the first of January.

"It's the holiday season and people are out having fun, having a few drinks, and sometimes they just don't plan ahead," Armstrong said.