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Staying Sober on Cinco de Mayo: Virgin Margaritas, DUI Checkpoints

Cinco de Mayo is like other holidays during which there is so much over-drinking that police plan on it. Besides offering widespread DUI checkpoints, authorities advise celebrants to stay sober — or at least sober behind the wheel — for a safe, no-regrets celebration.

“It’s absolutely like St. Patrick’s Day,” Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Dail of the traffic enforcement detail said Monday. “We don’t usually send out DUI enforcement teams on a Monday night. But we try to send DUI enforcement any time we have a holiday – even Mother’s Day and Easter.”

And sometimes the driver checkpoints have unexpectedly snagged drunken bicyclists, he said, noting one arrest last Thanksgiving week. So drunk cycling should not be considered an option.

According to the latest report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2012, some 10,000 people died in alcohol-impacted accidents — one every 51 minutes.

In a pre-Cinco de Mayo drunk driving enforcement in just L.A. County patrols, alcohol-related driving claimed at least one life, Dail said. On Friday, he said the Sheriff’s Department made 109 DUI arrests, eight involving road accidents that resulted in injuries. On Saturday, the department made 149 DUI arrests, four of them after accidents that caused injuries. One person was killed. As for Sunday, “when everyone’s supposedly getting ready for the work week, right? There were 147 DUI arrests, six causing injuries,” Dail said.

Likewise, LAPD increased enforcements over the weekend and also was planning beefed-up DUI patrols and checkpoints Monday: patrols were scheduled in the central L.A. area from noon to 8 p.m.; in the southwest area of the city from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the Hollywood area from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., a news release stated.

Honoring Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, Cinco de Mayo has also become a tribute to Mexican heritage and pride. And it can still be celebrated vigorously and with sobriety with the extra planning urged for any celebrant, but particularly recovering addicts.

Virgin Margarita

From Diabetic Living

This non-alcohol virgin margarita looks just like its tequila-laced counterpart:

Servings: 8
Serving size: 4  ounce
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Lime wedge
  • Course salt or course sugar (optional)
  • 6 ounce can frozen Limeade concentrate
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 4 cups of ice cubes
  • Optional: lime or orange slices for garnish, green food coloring if you must have your margaritas bright green.

Directions:

If desired, rub rims of margarita glasses with lime wedge; dip rims into a shallow dish of coarse salt or sugar and shake off excess. Set aside.

In a blender, combine limeade concentrate, orange juice, and grapefruit juice. Cover and blend until smooth. With the blender running, gradually add ice cubes through the hole in the lid, blending until slushy. If desired, tint with a few drops of green food coloring. Pour into margarita glasses. If desired, garnish with citrus slices. Makes 8 (4-ounce) servings.”

Here are more non-alcohol Mexican drinks.

If you will be celebrating away from home, law enforcement around the country urges planning ahead with these tips:

  • Choose from an array of non-alcohol beverages, from beer to mocktails, and even virgin wine
  • If you must drink, before the drinking begins, arrange a ride home for yourself, friends, family or co-workers
  • Provide non-alcoholic drinks to the designated driver

“My experience,” said L.A.County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dail, “is that any time you have a holiday such as this … you’ll see the drinking numbers spike. Today we’ll see more DUI arrests than you would for any normal Monday. But we even see spikes when two local teams play.”

There is still hope.

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