As Lent is upon us, residents everywhere are celebrating Mardi Gras tonight, or Fat Tuesday.
The holiday was originally a day for Christians and Catholics to feast on rich foods before the fasting holiday of Lent, which ends with Easter. However, Mardi Gras has turned into a night of festival and celebrations over the years, usually with parties involving alcohol.
The San Diego Police Department Traffic Unit is performing a DUI Saturation Patrol this evening in light of Fat Tuesday.
The department said the checkpoints will be conducted at undisclosed locations within the city limits between the hours of 7 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.
Officers will be contacting drivers passing through the checkpoint looking for signs of alcohol and drug impairment. Those caught driving while impaired can expect jail, license suspension, and insurance increases, as well as fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000, authorities said.
A press release issued by the SDPD said DUI checkpoints are an enforcement tool proven effective in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol-related crashes. A report has shown that alcohol-involved crashes drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted.
Funding for this checkpoint is provided to the San Diego Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.